Online virtual datarooms today contain large document collections. It is not uncommon to see 10 gigabytes of data and thousands of documents organized into one large tree directory. Online visitors want to quickly find relevant documents and folders of documents based on subject matter, so that they may conduct their due diligence efficiently. Key word searches are helpful but can be hit or miss. Another navigation option is to “drill down” from folder to subfolder, which can be tedious and ineffective, particularly, if the parent subfolder layers are extensive.
An Internet data room built on a SharePoint platform provides options to the data room designer that will allow users to quickly find relevant and important data from within a large document collection. Customizing the Quick Launch Bar or the left navigation pane of the standard SharePoint subsite template gives the data room administrator an easy way to better provide access to dataroom contents.
There are four excellent ways to custom design the layout of the data room on the Quick Launch Bar. See the screen shot below. Taking advantage of these design options will result in fewer clicks by site visitors as they seek to quickly find pertinent data and information.
• Multiple Headings
• Multiple Document Libraries
• Direct Links to documents
Headings can be named to reflect the nature of the content in those lists and document library links under that heading section. Effectively, the heading replaces a folder or a subfolder which enables the user to find specific content much faster.
Breaking the traditional large tree directory of folders and
documents into several document libraries and then listing those document libraries in the Quick Launch Bar, again saves the user “drill down” clicks to find sections of data. Document libraries might be organized by geographic areas, content types (e.g. invoices, photographs, etc.) or business disciplines like accounting, financial, R&D, etc. For ongoing projects, a document library might be titled Updates and then weekly or monthly update folders and documents would be placed in that document library.
For very important information, it is easy to name and provide a direct link to a specific document on the Quick Launch Bar. No navigating is needed, since the user simply clicks on the link that is listed to view the document directly.
Lists can also be created and added to the Quick Launch Bar. These are basically customized spreadsheets with rows and columns that can include almost any type of content. Lists can contain contact information, links to documents, announcements, summaries of key datasets, etc. Users conducting due diligence in a merger and acquisition want to navigate to relevant online documents quickly and easily.
SharePoint subsites that have a custom designed Quick Launch Bar will make users appreciative of the ability to find and retrieve data room information much faster than traditional data room layouts.