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Are there viewable examples/demos somewhere of customized user experiences around the "add a web part to the page" workflow?

I've got a customer that wants a "more user-friendly" experience for users adding web parts to the personalized version of a page, and I'm looking for inspiration.

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I haven't seen a ton of information about customizing the actual web part gallery. There are ways to make the experience more user friendly though. One option is to create page layouts and site templates that already have web parts on the page and users simply need to edit them rather than add them and edit them. You can also add a custom web part editor to make the customization process much friendlier. We do this on our site and it it is Ajax enabled for a better user experience. Personally, I would avoid actually customizing the gallery and would try to figure out if I could get the users to select the web parts before the page is provisioned somehow if the client wants to avoid the gallery. Here are some links that might help you though:

Dynamically populate the Web Part Gallery using the WebPartAdder in SharePoint 2010

Creating a Custom Web Part Editor in SharePoint 2010

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