How can we make Microsoft Teams better?

Better visual delineation between `Reply` and `Start a new conversation`

It's very confusing to new users that there is a difference between replying to an existing conversation and starting a new one within a channel. This is a visual thing as much as anything else. The 'reply' buttons are not naturally attractive if you just want to start typing a message. There should be a logical gap between the bottom of a conversation and 'start a new conversation'. 'Start a new conversation' needs to be separated visually, as if it's a second order command rather than a first order...reply.

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    Stephen Ellis shared this idea  ·   ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →

    We need your feedback! Which button do you like best? Fill out this 3-question survey here: https://aka.ms/ComposeButtonSurvey

    Also, we’re coming up against some blocks and our previous ship date of end of year is now going to be early next year. Thank you for your patience. :-)

    Please fill out the survey! Tweet me @skprufo if you have any questions.

    Suphatra

    230 comments

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      • Panagiotis commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I would add a "+" red button on the right bottom or on the top left screen of the team and hide the bottom Editbox ( "Start a new conversation Type @ to mention someone" ) that starts a new conversation. And leave the other EditBoxes for the conversations as it is, below the conversation so the user will understand that is the place for the answer.

      • Mike Larkin commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        If this was an owner feature it would save me a ton of extra messages telling people to delete and click reply. This is extremely cumbersome and almost defeats the point of having an efficient platform. Maybe a quick solution is to implement a more colorful "reply" button to remind people to click it - OR when in the Team Channels, do not have a text box at the bottom - place a Button for [ Start a New conversation ] that enables the text box. Display a Text Label in the place of the text box that says [ Reply above Or Start a New Conversation ] - I think this would help out 90% of the time and clean up many threads.

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Instead of having a persistent reply button below all messages their should be a button similar to the "Like" and "save" button to reply!!!

        To much screen space is taken up just for the reply button. It makes Teams look weird in my opinion.

      • Josh commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        One assumes that in turning the bottom input into a "New Conversation" button, you could also show the "Reply" input by default for every conversation. You could also do a material style floating action button with a "+" for new convos, if you didn't want to continue your flagrant abuse of vertical space.

        One also assumes that you could put an actual designer on this, and prototype with actual people, but since this has clearly never been done I don't know why you'd start now. By all means keep adding features like background video blur instead of spending a day of development time on your primary use case, 1.5+ years later.

      • Adam Wrzeski commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I took the survey and agree with Jamey. The issue isn't so much as how the New Conversation UI element appears. The issue is that visual priority need to be given to the REPLY button. I think making the new conversation a single button that will expand out will help... some. But also make the "reply" button stand out more!

      • Jamey Steinmann commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I think the point was missed in the request for feedback. Issue isn't the verbiage since it is clear users are not reading it, the issue is that users default to replying via the compose window since it doesn't draw their attention to the 'reply.' We need some better visual queue for the 'reply' option.

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I have to agree with other comments here - Adding a button and tweaking its name would be a partial improvement, but it does not fully address the larger interface issue, which is that it is still far too easy to miss the 'Reply' option, resulting in people frequently starting new conversation threads rather than responding to existing threads. This leads to conversation fragmentation, moves the topic the OP wanted to discuss off the screen, and compromises Team's collaborative purpose.

      • Annoyed commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Please give us the ability to change the way team chats work. I would like inline replies to be disabled or hidden and "new thread" to be the default manner of communication in a team channel.

        I suggest looking at Slack. You CAN reply to any message, but it is not the default. This is a MUCH more intuitive manner of communication, and the manner most people are used to using.

      • Daryl commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I have to echo what many other commenters have stated: changing button text does not address the issue. The problem is that for most humans, when they get pinged on a reply or new post by a Teams notification, they will click on it flipping to that channel and will hit the first thing they see (a button that regardless of text on it opens a new conversation). What we need is a better UI design so that at a glance, the person sees an obvious way to reply to existing messages AND an obvious way to start new conversations. A button doesn't solve either issue.

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        'New chat' is re-using a term that is used in a different context, so that looks like a really bad idea. 'New conversation' or 'New Post' are slightly better, but not really good choices either. 'New Thread' or 'New Topic' would be a better choice.

        That said, I have to agree with the consensus that I've seen in the other replies to this, a new button doesn't adequately address this problem. Reply should be a text box that is prominent to take accept input, and starting a new topic/thread should not immediately follow below it. At a minimum having that button on the right, not the left would help to better delineate it visually.

      • Chris Webb commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Well, I had a blog posted to examples but I guess links aren't allowed in comments? Anyway, I had mockups with my vote for button / reply edits and a toolbar option. @ChrisWebbTech on Twitter for the post.

      • Tony Wilson commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I love the idea of the button (regardless the text). I think it is perfect. New convos should be minimised as people need to focus on answering (replying) to the posted question.
        If you are about to start a convo/thread you are doing it because you have something new to say/ask and you feel it needs special attention. This action should not be frequent, or everyone will be beating their own drum. A team needs to focus on others needs and questions and ideas, not everyone speaking about their own thing. So we should all be replying and very few starting a convo. Making convo a button is exactly this statement.

        I think that focusing on minimising convos with that button is the right approach, than just pointing out what a reply is. An add on improvement would be to change the reply box from being a button that looks like a text box to actually being a text box, like the current conversation box at the bottom is. No need to click to activate the text box reply, just click the text box to start typing. Same action is needed, but the visual is different. It will make people even more inclined to do a reply (than a new convo).

        (I also like that the conversation tab is now taking less space with just being "chat")

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        As others have stated, Reply needs to be more obvious (or open text box). Currently just introduced a new click to start a new conversation.

      • Kevin Hoyt commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Reply needs to be more prominent and the existing conversation box needs to move to the top of the screen. That would match Facebook which one or two people use and are familiar with already.

      • Sean Ellis commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Of the three choices, "New conversation" is best because there is already a "Chat" and nowhere are things referred to as "Posts".

        This does also solve the problem of the anti-pattern tempting you into starting a new conversation. How long does the "new conversation" box stay on screen? Can you show us what it looks like?

        It would also be good to have a way to pop-out conversations into separate windows so you can easily focus on a single conversation.

        It only partially solves the problem of wasted vertical space, though. Looking forward to seeing how this is looks in Compact Mode.

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