This is a good example of an internal site that went from entirely customer driven to a full redesign. Originally, this site was mostly text with a banner or two across the entire site. Originally, the site was ordered by the customer with the demand that my team and I remain "hands off". After a couple of years operating in this fashion, they found that their site was not keeping up with other departments, and asked if I could take part in a redesign.
The redesigned front page layout.
Back in late 2013, the customer had reached out to the preferred vendor, Davis & Co., for the art assets, and I worked with them to identify business requirements and technical limitations of the platform (which was usual when working with this vendor). In the end, the customer was looking for a new feature component that was both graphic and modern, with a highlighted story and a new roll next to the highlight. They were also looking for dynamic, list driven people news and community news. In addition, they wanted the standard video roll and events calendar, but they were looking for a more dynamic look in keeping with the redesign.
The news section was run out of a SharePoint list, with the ability to select a highlighted story. The custom CAML query in the highlighted CQWP selected the most recent story selected as a highlighted feature in this list, while the general news CQWP removed this most recent highlighted story. CQWPs for people news was a standard CQWP with styling applied, while the community CQWP was simply a display of the 3 most recent headlines in the SharePoint list. The events calendar was standard for the most part, but required some changes to the default styling to meet the design requirements.
The site was full of existing content, so along with the changes made to the front page, the navigational and knowledge management structure was simplified, as a good portion of their information was removed from isolated pages (for example, the people news), and moved to the front page. Matching style colors and banners were added to the updated structure, to tie the style into the entire site.
Detail of the News Highlight Web Part.
What makes this site unique at the time was the application of how highlighted news and the news roll worked together, along with the application of more engaging and "modern" layout. We were limited in what we could develop, based on the environment (IE 7) and the platform. The use of a transparency with the highlighted news story, as well as the boxed top layout, was unusual for any portal site at the company, and increased the demand for design changes across the entire portal platform.
If you would like to download a sample of the front page layout, including the item style, SharePoint style template, and CSS file, please click here.