How can we make Microsoft Teams better?

Compact mode

I really like Teams. I do. But the current chat layout is not suited for professional chats. It's way to space consuming. It looks like something imported from MSN with smiley's that take half of the screen. I would say that Slack have nailed it because they focused on the ability keeping a tight window with lots of chat text visible. In Teams the window is full and starts scrolling after like 10 sentences.

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    We’ll send you updates on this idea

    Thomas Nimstad shared this idea  ·   ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
    planned  ·  Suphatra responded  · 

    Hi everyone, thank you for your patience since the last update.

    We want to extend a huge thanks to all of you who have engaged with us on this topic of compact chat. Your input has been invaluable and helped inform our design and decision-making.

    As we look to 2019, we will be pursuing plans to continue to make the product more and more space efficient. We see this as a guiding design principle, as well as a backlog of requests from UserVoice that we catalogue, discuss, debate, brainstorm and problem solve.

    This principle is also why we will not be making a sharp design turn towards a permanently heavy dense design. Our user base is a wide range of people — such as high school students, the visually impaired, open source developers, and your every day knowledge worker. Because of our broad reach, we must maintain a standard of usability that meets many visual needs.

    Lastly, we are seriously considering a compact mode. This would be an option — a switch, you might say — that makes everything quite dense. We are entering a new phase of product development that makes this more possible than before. To that end, I’m changing the title of this request to “Compact Mode.” We’ll keep you abreast of these plans as we learn more ourselves.

    Meanwhile, we really appreciate your patience, your feedback, and your support of Teams. Thank you for being part of #MicrosoftTeams!

    Sincerely,
    Suphatra

    966 comments

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      • I would like to use teams commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Seriously? The large borders, moat, and whitespace between messages are likely of no benefit to any visual type or type of user. Conversely, when this product was designed, were those elements made the way they are to serve "high school students, the visually impaired, open source developers, and your every day knowledge worker", I don't think so, lets be honest. I think it was just a happenstance design that was not thought through. Slack can display much more information much more readably. Teams can only display a handful of messages vertically on a high resolution screen. The majority of space in Teams is taken up by blank space of no value. Larger high contrast *text*, not wasted space, may serve other visual user needs, that said, just make Teams follow the DPI setting in Windows which allows one to increase the size of text to suit their needs. The current visual UI was clearly a bad design, wasting valuable space with borders and whitespace to look cute or whatever the idea was or wasn't. Also the 'reply' button is placed *below* the message taking up even more space, rather than being placed to the side of the message. Every message has it's own reply button below it, wasting space on every message. It seems like these products are designed in some kind of corporate speak vacuum with too many people involved and no real UX designers, and then when they are just clearly no good, that can't be realized and effectively adjusted or fixed. This whole way of approaching product is likely related to the fate of Zune, Windows Phone, Windows 8, etc. Teams is chat, and chat needs to win with consumers in the way popular consumer technology products do. Microsoft is again stepping in to requiring a good consumer facing design with this product, which is where it's historically struggled. Enterprise software can look bad because people have to use it and have to get trained on it to do their job, they are paid to use it. Communication apps must be beautiful and efficient to get adopted. I went to migrate from Slack to Teams for my company and as soon as I saw the UI I knew I could not move the company to Teams for moral reasons, despite us being on 365 and Teams being better for all the integrative and logical reasons, if I put the Teams look and feel out to my company it would be a big negative hit to everyone purely because of the inefficient design and my company being used to Slack. I think this latest response and philosophy behind it is disappointing, and I'm sorry you were asked to write something like this. Everyone here cares so much because we all know eventually, due to sheer market dominance, we will all be using teams in the near future, and we'd like the application we stare at all day to communicate with those we talk to most, to not suck.

      • Sean Ellis commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        @Anonymous - "An amateur with a basic css knowledge could fix the **** Teams layout in one single day and make it better."

        Several did.

        A dedicated amateur, Emmanuel, made it work properly, in a couple of weekends.

      • Ben Rice commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        The reply to chat "bubble" is pointless and confusing. That bubble keeps scrolling up as new ones come in. Most don't use the "reply" and treat it like a normal chat app. With that in mind, the chat "bubble" consumes way too much space.

        Take a page out of the HipChat UI design -- Yes, I know they're replacing it with Slack. The design though is simple, compact, etc. It even shows you the members of the channel and their status -- there's another vote for this feature as well.

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        This is pathetic. An amateur with a basic css knowledge could fix the **** Teams layout in one single day and make it better. Who the **** is working on this project? Preschool children?

      • Sean Ellis commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        @Christopher Clinton - "it is not all about the layout being compact, but about it being organized in a way that is usable for the variety of users"

        I beg to differ. This request IS pretty much all about it being compact. Really compact. Maximally just-show-us-as-much-text-in-a-window-as-you-can compact.

        But we realise that this will not work for everyone, so we've been consistent asking for this as a mode. That way, it's available for those people that want it, without causing problems for those that don't.

        Having it as an option is the only way to make it compact enough to satisfy those of us who want to keep multiple chats open alongside our "real work". Simply making the default view 20% "more space efficient" will not be enough.

      • GeekBrownBear commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I personally like the having Teams open in full on one of my monitors. But I REALLY need the ability to pop-out the chat or have Office files stay open when I switch from the Teams tab to the Chat tab.

      • Christopher Clinton commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Sounds like a fun project! Keep in mind, it is not all about the layout being compact, but about it being organized in a way that is usable for the variety of users (as you mentioned).

        I am sure the team can get it done, there are many ways to go about it and a good design-iterative led system is sure to work. Good luck!

      • Sean Ellis commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        This is NOT a difficult change.

        It could (and should) be prioritized, with prototype screenshots shared for feedback in January and delivery in the February* update. This is more important than whatever new emojis are in development.

        The original poster was asking for compact mode for Chat (and conversations) only. It doesn't necessarily affect other aspects of the UI. This restricts the scope of the change quite dramatically.

        Four of us have demonstrated that a prototype can be developed in a couple of hours. Emmanuel has taken this further to show that you can develop this into a working solution with just one person, 4 days' work and CSS changes only.

        Prioritise, prototype, share, feedback, deliver.

        * - Tempting as it is to call for Christmas to be cancelled for the Teams team, in order to sort this out for January, this would only penalize the developers and I don't think the developers are to blame. It's much more likely to be the marketing team and product managers who have been suppressing work on this.

      • Sean Ellis commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        @Troy - " how about you change the status so we're not expecting change for a year and half?"

        With my cynical hat on, because a lot of people would then go and use something else.

        If it takes a month to procure and set up an alternative solution, then if the feature you need is a month away, you'll wait, to save yourself the trouble.

        If the feature you need is a year away, you'll switch, to save yourself the wait.

        This strategy works right up until the point where it doesn't, and you have to admit that it was never a month away at all, and will be at least a year away because that's how long it takes to get anything from Planned to Completed.

        Then everyone gets very, very angry.

      • Troy commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        We've waited a year and a half and the response is, "seriously considering a compact mode." ....What? This topic has been "working on it" since July 25, 2017. Correct me if I'm wrong, but there have been precisely zero improvements for UI or density in this time.

        What is the point of the UserVoice community if we're just being lied to and strung along? What feedback are you listening to exactly? If you are internally conflicted about a topic, how about you change the status so we're not expecting change for a year and half?

      • Chris Parker commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        +1 to what Sean Ellis said.

        I suspect there's one or more large customers that Microsoft is prioritizing fixes or special requests (or... there's an exec with a pet project that has reprioritized tasks that are more important to the community).

        It might be in MS' interests to do this but sure leaves a source taste in the mouths of the enthusiasts.

      • J Copeland commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Just chiming in here too, Teams development has been far too slow for far too long now. This is one the most requested features for Teams. We're not asking Microsoft to make compact view a global default view that would work against those that have special needs, we're asking them to make better use of the wasted screen real estate that we presently don't enjoy. This needs to be a toggle. Just like dark mode.

      • Mason Schuler commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Compact mode is not reflecting the original ask. Chat is the primary issue. Why would you the primary ask over the potential of a few use cases that don't fit? It's a HORRIBLE user experience as it stands and makes the tool nearly unusable to conduct meetings and chat. How could this not be addressed more urgently?

      • Ryan commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        If its not going to be clean and compact then I will just stay with SLACK!

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        This has too many votes to be ignored. Please revisit your stance on this and prioritize it

      • Ian Caldwell commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Great to see an update - but not many happy comments. As correctly mentioned in the update, there are a wide range of users, so UX is not a simple thing. But, this is not just a single-use app, this is Teams, a multi-dimensional work tool - we expect our users to spend hours each day in the Teams app, so the interface can and must be held to a much higher standard. In Outlook, a user can customize their interface extensively. Teams replaces a lot of email, and adds much more - so customization is not a nice-to-have, it is a must.

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