Published by Chris Johnson, on Friday, June 30, 2017
With clients, I talk about dividing SharePoint content into two categories:
First out of the gate in SharePoint Online were Modern Team Sites (powered by Office Groups), which provide a great way to collaborate on “bottom-up” content with a team.
Released in June, Communication Sites are modern SharePoint’s answer to “top-down” publishing.
Below are the main differences between Team Sites and Communication Sites in SharePoint Online. Keep these in mind when creating a site, and your SharePoint admin will thank you….
Because Team Sites are built with collaboration in mind, creating a Team Site in SharePoint Online automatically creates an Office Group behind the scenes. In addition to a SharePoint site to share news and documents, you get a shared calendar and inbox in Outlook, a Planner tasks board and a OneNote notebook.
When you create a Communication Site, no Office Group is created behind the scenes.
Creating a new Team Site from SharePoint Home prompts you to select Privacy Settings, which are set to Public by default.
You’re then immediately prompted to add team members right on the Create Site page.
Contrarily, creating a Communication Site doesn’t prompt you to add members. Instead, you’ll need to click Share site from the site’s home page; adding users assigns them read access by default.
After creating a Team Site, you’re taken to a home page that’s pre-configured for collaboration, featuring a News web part and Site Activity that highlights recent documents and pages on the site.
Creating a Communication Site prompts you to select from 3 default designs: Topic, Showcase or Blank.
Creating the site takes you to a home page matching your selected design:
Communication Sites feature Top Navigation by default rather than the Quick Launch (left) navigation that ships with Team Sites.
And because there’s no left navigation, the Search box moves to the upper right on Communication Sites pages, beneath the new Share site button and the familiar Follow button.
Team Sites , which are connected to an Office Group, gain 3 unique navigation experiences that you won’t find on Communication sites:
Clicking the name of the Team Site or the site icon pops up a dialog with navigation to other Groups features like Planner, Conversations and the OneNote notebook:
You can also add links to the aforementioned Office Groups features in the Quick Launch (left) navigation while editing:
Finally, Team Sites show a summary of team members and a link to team conversations in the upper right-hand corner of the site navigation.
This helps to further emphasize the collaborative, “bottom-up” nature of Team Sites, where visitors to the site are likely to want to know who else is a part of the team.
Aside from these main differences, Team Sites and Communication Sites are actually very similar:
Users still must follow a Communication Site to always see News from that site on SharePoint Home. I had hoped that Communication Sites would provide a way to kindly *ahem* shove content down users’ throats, but it appears the News feature on SharePoint Home is strictly opt-in for now.
Categories: SharePoint,SharePoint Online,bottom-up,collaboration,Communication Sites,modern pages,Office Groups,PSC,publishing,sharepoint,Team Sites,top-down,web parts,Office 365