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Building SharePoint Suggestion Boxes and Soliciting Anonymous Feedback - Page 3, Page 3

  • By Nickolas Kortesis
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Building a Suggestion Box using Custom Lists

Custom lists are exactly what the name implies; "custom" means that you can customize the list to suit your exact needs. In fact, custom lists are the underlying technology for the discussion boards and surveys you've already seen. You can use them directly to create a suggestion box quickly without relying on SharePoint's custom tools. Custom lists provide a fast and simple way to automate the process of collecting information from users.


Although similar to the Survey and Discussion board tools, the custom list is the simplest and easiest way to implement a suggestion box.

    1. Again, start at the Site Actions menu and click the Create button.
    2. On the SharePoint Layout page, locate the Custom Lists area and click the Custom List button. SharePoint will redirect you to the Custom List creation page (see Figure 7).
    3. Specify the name of the list and write a detailed description if desired, and then click the OK button. You'll see the Custom List page.
    4. Click "List Settings." From the settings page locate the General Settings area and click Advanced Settings. That directs you to the SharePoint Advanced Settings page for the custom list (see Figure 8).
  1. To create an anonymous suggestion box, make sure that the Read and Edit access settings are set to "Only their own." Users will only be able to see their own posts, but the site owner will be able to see all responses. Click the OK button to finish the Custom List suggestion box. To see all the collected feedback, go to the new Custom List page you just created (see Figure 9).

Taking It to the Next Level

The custom list is a very basic SharePoint type; you can customize it using various features. One interesting way to expand on this feature would be to add another column to the custom list representing a choice list column so that users can classify how important or what type of priority the item should receive (high, medium, or low). Letting users control the priority is particularly useful when users submit more than one feedback item; they can rank each item's importance. Later, administrators looking at all the responses can sort them by priority. Being able to view the most important suggestions first and the least important later lets decision makers implement or improve the business in a timely manner.

In addition to SharePoint pages, you can expose all three of these features via the Quick Launch navigation system within SharePoint, through content editor web parts, and so forth.

The suggestion box feature is a great way to receive feedback on specified topics. Each of the three methods described here for implementing a suggestion box in SharePoint are provided out-of-the-box. However, you can use their different features to make the feedback collection mechanism suit the situation. Suggestion boxes let users submit useful feedback on controversial issues even when they may be reluctant to discuss the issues openly with their colleagues or managers.

Originally published on https://www.developer.com.

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This article was originally published on December 17, 2008

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