Using Javascript in Nintex Forms to Control the SharePoint User Experience

I’ve been using SharePoint since 2001.  Over the years, there is one constant that drives me crazy: The user experience provided out-of-the-box by SharePoint.  The interface is anything but intuitive.  I dare to say the interface is counter intuitive and requires training to understand the most basic features.  Point in case, adding records to a list.  The whole idea of adding a record to a list is obtuse.  First, you have to navigate to a list (that might be impossible for a novice), then you need to click “New Item", then a form will be displayed.  Once the form record is submitted, you are returned to the list… to do what exactly?  Admire your record?  It would be like using a custom application … adding a record to an application and then being redirected to the SQL table.  Huh?  This experience blows!

Often I find myself trying to make SharePoint NOT SharePoint (totally makes sense).  One of the items I constantly find myself doing is using pages to help people navigate around.  On these pages I put links or images with one-click events to take people to a new form in a list.  When I am using Nintex Forms, this experience is enhanced as it provides much more functionality than out-of-the-box SharePoint when it comes to presentation and redirection.  I have compiled the following tips to help you make the most out of your SharePoint solutions using Nintex Forms:

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  1. Never make somebody go directly to a list or library to add a record. From a page, add an image with a hyperlink to the new item for the form. I like to hide the link behind an image. As an example, I may have a link to an expense report on my Accounting homepage. The URL behind the image may look something like this: http://yourdomain.com/Accounting/Lists/ExpenseReports/NewForm.aspx This will give the user a direct link to the new item form bypassing the need to navigate to the list and click new item.

  2. Form Submission Redirection. Once a form is submitted you can use an option available under Form Settings, Advanced, Redirect URL. In the above example, I would put in http://labtekdogu.com/Accounting to have the form automatically redirect to any page I like. Typically this will be to the landing page of my solution.

3. Redirect on Cancel. Don’t forget the cancel button on your form. If the user clicks cancel you know where they will be redirected to?  How about the “List”.  UGH!  Open the Cancel button and do the following:

Change the Button Action to be “JavaScript” then under Advanced, “Client click” insert the following JavaScript:  location.href=’URLtoReDirectTo’; 

The URLtoRedirectTo is the URL where you want the user to be redirected to if they click cancel.  See the example below:

These little tricks can greatly increase the usability of your solutions and will help overcome SharePoint’s native user experience which, at best, sucks.  Good luck, and workflow on my friends.

~Jason