SUGUK Nottingham – 14th January 2010

With Christmas and New Year festivities already a distant memory, SUGUK returns to Strelley Hall, Nottingham for the first event of 2010! As I write this post, temperatures are a respectable 8 degrees (C), however last Thursday the UK was still in the grip of what seemed like a mini ice age, but this did not deter 30+ SharePointers, hungry for information and pizza, to attend the event.

This time round was labelled a Designer/Branding Special, with the entire event dedicated to SharePoint branding, customising look & feel and accessibility.  Three experts in their field travelled considerable distances to deliver three superb presentations:

Following my rushed keynote, Penny Coventry MVP (@pjcov) kicked off with a back to basics overview of SharePoint design concepts, titled ‘Branding SharePoint Sites – Why is it so Hard?’.  With a mixed crowd, this was exactly what was needed, laying the foundations for the next two sessions with superb presentation delivered in Penny’s usual crystal clear style. Penny initially took us through the key MOSS 2007 concepts of Publishing Sites vs Collaboration Sites, Master Pages, CSS and Themes with some live demos of SharePoint Designer 2007.  After a brief break for Strelley’s finest pizza and quiche, Penny returned to focus on SharePoint 2010 and new/improved concepts and a discussion on upgrading from MOSS.

Here is a link to Penny’s Slides.  Also Penny made the following link available for sharePoint 2010 branding info

Next up was Sam ‘Pink Petrol’ Dolan (@pinkpetrol) to give us a guide to branding SharePoint sites with his presentation titled, ‘Making SharePoint Beautiful’. This was Sam’s first time speaking at SUGUK but no nerves on show here – just a slick presentation and the ubiquitous hair style complete with pencil tie and winkle pickers :).  Some great tips on how to brand and best tools to use were shared, before the crowd were treated to a gallery of exquisite example designs  by the man himself.  Well done to Sam and Im sure it will be the first of many SGUGUK sessions. 

Here’s a link to Sam’s Slides .

Finally, an experienced speaker but out to break her SUGUK duck was Nikki Ashington from Trinity Expert Systems.  Speaking in her effective laid back style, she delivered a very engaging session on accessibility, titled ‘Accessibility in MOSS – What?, Why?, When?, How?’.  This rounded off the evening nicely and reminded us to keep our branding designs accessible to all and satisfy the ‘branding police’. A very important topic and one which was difficult to deliver in just 30 minutes. Well done Nikki!!

Heres a link to Nikki’s Slides.

The night wouldnt be complete without the obligatory SharePint at the Broad Oak, Strelley, followed by a growing custom – ShareCurry at LaZiza in Nuthall.

All in all a superb night, and, for me, the best Nottingham event yet due to the collective nature of the sessions together telling a ‘story’ on one aspect of SharePoint. 

More in a couple of months folks. Look out for SUGUK bulletins………