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.
We have been iterating on different designs and are starting to test internally. I don’t have a timeframe but will keep you posted.
Joshua Richards commented
All of those options are terrible, keep the message box there by default, fix the "reply" button.
Stephen Scaringi commented
I agree with other commenters that the proposed solution in the survey doesn't address the issue.
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.
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.
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.
'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
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
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")
Chris Webb commented
I voted, made a blog with a few ideas, my first one on the blog being what most people here are asking for, a button but tweak the reply a bit. https://webbtech365.blogspot.com/2018/12/microsoft-teams-reply-new-conversation.html
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
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
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.
Arve Aleksandersen commented
Please don't solve this problem by making it more difficult to open a new conversation. That is terrible design thinking on your behalf. If that is the only option, please please please don't do anything. I trust you can be more creative than that.
This seems like nothing has progressed since the original post 18 MONTHS ago. A button is not going to solve the problem of terrible communication flow or poor design.
As others have said... this is not what I envisioned the solution would be at all. Doing something different with the "Reply" option is what I imagined.
My knee-jerk reaction to this and the ship date getting pushed back is: "hahaha... what a circus... why can't we get simple changes like these pushed out faster than 2 years? Is anyone beta testing options? What is going on over there?"
This may be an improved experience but I want to know what is supposed to happen when someone clicks the new area.
Wouldn't it be easier just to change the stylesheet of the "Start a new conversation" so people get the experience of typing into the box of a certain color always starts a new conversation?
Changing the color of the area would be an easier fix to implement to try out on a focus group rather than creating a new button which feels like an extra step that hopefully people will click on less.
But would the new button-appearance indicate that focus is never achieved without a click into the new post/conversation area?
Maybe you should consider that threads can cause more problems than they solve
I agree with many of the recent comments, the "reply" should be an open text box with sample text indicating the user should type in the open text box to reply to an existing thread. The "new thread" or "new conversation" button should be diminished slightly from the screenshots and be labeled as such.
Chris Bash commented
I agree with others. This is not addressing the issue. "Reply" needs to be more prominent. It needs to be separated from the "new conversation" button much more.
I have to backup the other comments - I am really amazed (annoyed?) that the screenshots don't actually seem to be solutions to the actual problem. The issue is that the 'reply' button is not clear. I suppose changing the wording of 'New Post' etc does help a bit, but a better solution to this is to have the 'reply' button change to be an open input box with help desk of 'type reply here'..... seems like the point is being missed?!?
Graham Helliwell commented
"New thread" and "New topic" would both be better than the options listed. I think the button being on the right hand side in the mobile app is also a useful separation that could be copied.