If Picasso used SharePoint as a medium for branding he would be inspired by the unpretentious nuggets of SharePoint wisdom Cathy Dew shared during her recent podcast episode.
The SharePoint branding expert is refreshing. Her background in advertising and print gives her the command of language sophisticated decision makers yearn for. At the same time her willingness to dive into the complex technology and tools provided by Microsoft make her popular with the geeks.
Her strong advertising background is a huge asset. She clearly has proven experience in what design patterns will transfer from Wireframes to real SharePoint sites. This will be a huge cost saver for any client she engages with. Cathy prefers black and white wireframes to start with and follows through to the end using best practices like deploying her final work as features and solutions. She acknowledges this is key when releasing artifacts from development to QA and finally production. She makes use of solutions and scripts to update existing master pages and is brilliantly aware of caching issues while making updates. Often times she will follow up with a knowledge transfer to clients in addition to documentation (yes documentation) allowing clients to do their own updates.
During her podcast she discusses using the document workspace master pages, using custom site definitions and offers great advice on when to pick between themes and master pages. In addition she vividly describes how a company can get by with neither and simply have a custom .css file if appropriate. When she was asked about best practices for image size she uses the words ‘it depends’. She does this often! I love this as SharePoint is so much too so many. She understands often times there are solutions which will not work for all clients and vice versa.
Cathy certainly ranks as a ‘A’ team SharePoint consultant in my humble opinion and I would look forward to any opportunity to work with her as part of a SharePoint deployment team. I do hope she continues to share her knowledge with the community especially as we struggle to redefine branding in SharePoint 2010.