Building a Modern Intranet with SharePoint Online


No matter how big or small an organization is, collaboration is essential to its success. Moreover, successful businesses are always on the lookout for new ways to improve efficiency and save time. For instance, online collaboration platforms where employees from different departments can share knowledge and work together.

The Microsoft SharePoint platform allows for the creation of an intranet portal with all the features necessary for efficient teamwork among employees. Intranet portals are underutilized for a variety of reasons.

  • It has a badly designed and unfriendly interface.
  • It took too long to collect responses from employees.
  • incapable of adjusting to new circumstances
  • Content that is difficult to manage and lacks organization.


Above all, Microsoft is fully cognizant of this, and hence it is making consistent efforts to improve the SharePoint user experience. We’ll compare and contrast the classic SharePoint intranet with the modern, more advanced version in this article.

Site Structure & Sub-Sites

We create sub-sites under the main site collection in a classic SharePoint architecture, following a tree-like hierarchy. With this framework, we can more precisely outline the site’s structure, navigation, user roles, and permissions. Once defined, it’s hard to manage and maintain this structure, and this becomes the primary challenge for the users of Classic SharePoint users. Also, users can now link modern SharePoint sites to a hub site to share branding, navigation, and other elements. This structure is more agile and adaptable to changing needs.


The ease with which users can navigate your site is a crucial component to the success of your intranet portal as a whole. Users are able to quickly locate the information they need thanks to the site’s clean and intuitive design. Because of this, they are able to make a decision or find a solution to a problem much more rapidly. Although SharePoint Online lacks the hierarchical structure of SharePoint Classic, you can still use it to navigate between sites and subsites. However, hub sites, on the other hand, are ideal for implementing cross-site navigation functions. Simply put, up-to-date SharePoint takes care of two crucial navigational necessities, namely:

  • Classifying and labeling.
  • Findability and ease of use.



When using SharePoint classic, it can be difficult to give your site a unique look and feel because of the restricted number of available site themes. Aldo, changing the look of these templates to fit a company’s identity is a laborious process. Furthermore, the user experience varies across devices. SharePoint Online’s current iteration allows for a site’s visual style to be modified to better fit an organization’s identity. The logo, color scheme, and menus can all be tailored to your preferences, and you won’t even need to learn how to code in order to do it. On top of that, your company’s branding efforts can be implemented locally, across a cluster of sites, or system-wide.

Listed below is a synopsis of the key distinctions between site branding in SharePoint’s traditional on-premises environment and in SharePoint Online today.

Classic Experience

  • You can alter the appearance of these nonresponsive, readymade themes.
  • Make use of outdated techniques like CSS, which are mostly ignored in the modern SharePoint experience.


Modern Experience

  • You can tailor a ‘responsive’ theme to the aesthetic preferences of your company and its customers regardless of the device they use to view your site.
  • Customize the look of your site’s header and footer, change the color scheme, and more with the help of the SharePoint Framework.



One more essential feature of any website is a search function. Additionally, a well-defined and configured search quickly delivers the user the desired information. Today’s search engines put more emphasis on tailoring results to the individual using them, whether that’s for locating a specific document version or picking up a presentation right where the user left off. Type into a search bar and it will suggest words and phrases as you type. Prioritizing the most relevant search results. It is now possible to click through a search’s results and learn more information without ever leaving the results page. To quickly determine whether a presentation is relevant, for instance, you can view it in its entirety without leaving the search results page.


You can control who has access to what in SharePoint. You can define access by using one of three main permission sets that come with the classic SharePoint. Each SharePoint site template has its own set of sharing and permissions options, but modern SharePoint implementations allow for more nuanced control over who can see what on team and communication sites. When setting up a modern SharePoint site, it’s important to take into account the following in terms of permissions and sharing:

  • Upgraded SharePoint permission grouping.
  • Users can access a site directly or through a group.
  • Permissions transfer between different domains.
  • Differentiated access controls for team and communication sites.
  • Possibilities for sharing and distributing content externally.