UX design for SharePoint Add-ins

Learn about the user experience (UX) options that you have when you build add-ins in SharePoint.

Note The name "apps for SharePoint" is changing to "SharePoint Add-ins". During the transition, the documentation and the UI of some SharePoint products and Visual Studio tools might still use the term "apps for SharePoint". For details, see New name for apps for Office and SharePoint.

As a developer, you should always give high priority to the user experience (UX) when you are creating add-ins. The model for SharePoint Add-ins offers many UX components and mechanisms that help you build a great user experience. The user experience in the add-in model is also flexible enough to let you use the techniques and platforms that best adapt to the needs of end users.

High-level overview of add-in UX in SharePoint

As the add-in developer, you have to know the architecture of your add-in. After you determine how your add-in will be distributed in remote and SharePoint platforms, you can decide among the available alternatives for building your add-in UX. You might ask yourself the following questions:

The following diagram shows the main scenarios and options to consider when you are designing your add-in UX.

Figure 1. Add-in UX main scenarios and options

App UX main scenarios

In choosing your design, you should fundamentally consider which parts of your add-in are hosted in SharePoint and which are not. You should also consider how your add-in interacts with the host web.

Add-in UX scenarios in cloud-hosted add-ins

Suppose that you determine that some of your user experience is not hosted in SharePoint. In these scenarios, it is expected that your end users go back and forth between a SharePoint website and the cloud-hosted add-in. You can use the techniques and tools in the platform, but SharePoint also provides resources to help you design a smooth experience for users.

The following UX resources are available for cloud-hosted add-ins in SharePoint:

  • Chrome control: Thechrome control enables you to use the navigation header of a specific SharePoint site in your add-in without needing to register a server library or use a specific technology or tool. To use this functionality, you must register a SharePoint JavaScript library through standard