If your enterprise uses SharePoint Online and you’ve been paying attention over the past year or so, then you probably know that Microsoft has slowly been rolling out new updates to the user interface. This new user interface—called the “Modern UI” (short for Modern User Interface) —will eventually be the standard (and perhaps only) interface for SharePoint Online. For now, there are some features in SharePoint that aren’t supported by the Modern UI, as well as others (such as a SharePoint document library) that work beautifully with Modern UI.
The big question, if you are using SharePoint Online, is whether you should migrate to Modern UI or stick with Classic UI for next year or so? On the one hand, the new interface offers a fresh and upgraded user experience for some key SharePoint features. On the other hand, support for Modern UI is not universal across SharePoint Online just yet. There are also still a few bugs or issues with some features—suggesting that Microsoft might still need 12 -18 months to perfect the interface.
Ultimately, it’s up to you whether to migrate over to Modern UI now or wait until Microsoft has had some time to iron out the kinks. If you need a little help making the decision, though, read on for an overview of the pros and cons of Modern UI migration at this particular moment in time.
The Pros: Updated SharePoint Document Libraries, Team Sites, and Lists
The pros to the Modern UI are the new interfaces and features it will bring to critical parts of your SharePoint intranet. Here’s a brief overview of the SharePoint features that currently support Modern UI, as well as a few features that are expected to get the Modern UI update soon:
Modern SharePoint Document Libraries: The biggest reason to migrate to Modern UI right now is for the new SharePoint document library interface. Document libraries were the first place that Microsoft introduced the Modern UI. Apparently, they’ve heard the criticisms from users about the functionality of document libraries compared to OneDrive. Subsequently, the SharePoint team sat down with the OneDrive team and started taking features of OneDrive and building them into SharePoint’s document libraries. That hybridization is at the core of the new document library interface, which allows for more customization, easier switching of views, better filtering/sorting of documents, and more. If you’ve used OneDrive before and preferred it to the Classic UI of SharePoint document libraries, then you will appreciate the Modern UI update.
Modern Team Sites: Modern team sites was just released on March 14th, and if you were an Office 365 First Release users you’ve had the ability to test drive this the new feature. The Modern UI has become the primary interface for these new team sites, when you set them up through Office 365. When you create a new Office 365 Group, you have the choice of Exchange Group, or the new Office365 Team Site with the Modern UI. Essentially, the benefit here is one of simplification. When you create an Office 365 Group and add people/admins to the group, you will have also created a SharePoint team site. You don’t have to go into SharePoint and set up the team site separately, which saves time, effort, and inconvenience.
Modern Lists: The Modern UI for lists within your SharePoint intranet is all about improved collaboration. With the modern list experience, it’s easier to edit lists, configure approvals and versioning, set up alerts, incorporate rich data types, and give users the privileges to add new columns and information. The Modern UI with lists was also built with mobile devices in mind and are therefore much easier to access and use on smartphones and tablets. In general, stronger mobile integration is a big part of the push behind SharePoint’s Modern UI.