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We are using the Sharepoint Online that is included with Office 365 as a means of managing our remote staff members and allowing them to update their status on MS Project tasks. We tried using the Modern list view for our list, but have found it lacking in usability since we organize our task list as a hierarchy in MS project, with master tasks having subtasks, and the modern list view flattens this hierarchy and makes it useless. Additionally, the mobile version of the modern list view does not clearly indicate how many subtasks a master task has, instead treating the master tasks as folders, and this makes it pretty useless.

The upshot of this is that we are stuck using the classic Sharepoint experience for our task lists, and based on what I've researched it seems the mobile version of this classic experience is called the Contemporary interface. The one with the blue title bar in the upper left and the gear in the upper right.

This interface is working well for us, but we would like to customize the view a bit to include a field or two of extra content on every line, such as completion percentage and last updated date. I've looked all over the internet, and it seems like there was originally a means of doing this using Device Channels functionality, with separate master pages for mobile sites, and then customizing those mobile master pages. It also seems perhaps this Device Channels functionality has been deprecated in the Office 365 Sharepoint implementation, although I could be wrong about this.

There seems to be some sharepoint functionality as well that is related that I don't fully understand, which involves activating Publishing features on a given sharepoint site. I tried to do this before when I was working on trying to create template sites and then generate subsites from them, and I recall it wouldn't allow me to do this because my sharepoint sites are Modern "Team" sites.

Also, given the change in site structure from hierarchical to hub-based that the sharepoint team is pushing, I've been working on migrating from a subsite that was created for our project by using the "export to sharepoint" functionality in MS Project, towards creating a modern team site for a project and then adding a list to it from MS Project. This results in a Modern team site with a Tasks list on it that provides the Classic experience, but I suspect will cause issues with enabling publishing features on my Sharepoint site.

My question is manifold:

  • Is this sort of thing actually documented anywhere?
  • Am I able to customize this mobile interface?
  • What is the right way to do this?
  • Should I be using subsites or moving towards the hub-based organizational framework that Microsoft seems to be intending for users given the shift to Modern?
  • Why is the Sharepoint mobile app so terrible? Is there any way to customize how my task list appears in that and just sidestep this whole issue? Because it also flattens out my task list.

The only part of all of this that is absolutely non negotiable at this point is that we use MS Project. My boss loves Project.

Ultimately our objective is to provide a useful, access controlled interface for our field staff to update the office on project task status, and we are 90% of the way there with this current implementation.

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