Sean Ellis

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    1599 comments  ·  Public » UX/Design  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    @Chris - "Basic UI failure"

    Unfortunately, it's easy to believe that this is the Teams UX mission statement.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    @Stephen - The CSS style sheet fix is something that at least 3 people here (including me) have prototyped on the Web interface. I spent a long lunchtime on it and got it 80% functional. Another user (sorry! can't remember your name!) spent a weekend and got it 100% functional.

    OK, so these are protoypes. Let's be really, really generous and assume that a fully tested, integrated, designed, nice version would take 100x as long. Two hundred days of effort. (I've seen the CSS that Teams produces. It could be that long.) That's approximately 1 person-year of work.

    A single person, working 1% as fast as the users on this forum, would have completed the task in one third of the elapsed time that this has been in "working on it" state.

    So the problem is clearly not the developers. I am sure that they would have homed in on the requirements, produced a design, implemented it, tested it, and deployed it by now. And been rightly proud of making the program easier to use for a significant proportion of its users.

    The problem has to be marketing. Despite this being a mode, which would be "off" by default, there has to be someone somewhere saying that this doesn't "look as nice" as the existing chat interface that we currently have, so it will "put people off".

    Despite it doing the exact opposite. Over 16000 people want a compact mode.

    And it doesn't muck up the cover shots - the existing interface should not be going away. Lots of people like it, and that's fine. As we've said over and over, a "slightly more compact" default view won't cut it. It has to be a maximally-compact mode. So you can leave the existing interface completely alone.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Another 5 months on... how's the review going?
    Can you share a sketch of the design?
    Can you share a sketch of any of the designs you said were completed during the 3 years you were "working on it"?
    Can you give an ETA? Users prototyped this in a weekend.
    Can you give any evidence that this is actually being progressed at all?
    Can you give us any evidence that you actually understand the requirements?

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Another 4 months go by.

    No feedback.
    No design goals.
    No prototypes.
    No suggestions.
    No direction.
    No sketches.
    No evidence of any consideration of this idea at all.
    No surprise from the 16000 users who voted for this idea.

    Consequently:
    No trust in your development process.

    Show us your working. On second thought, just show us you're working.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    @Paul O'Brien - Ctrl+Zoom just makes everything smaller - it does not increase the density. It also doesn't work in a detached chat window!

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    @Alex - "Until this design is solidified we are putting this item back to Under Review."

    BEFORE this design is solidified, please share it with us. The one design change that so far made it into production was the precise opposite of what we need.

    We can save you time. We can save you heartache. We can save you money!

    WE ARE YOUR USERS. WE CAN HELP YOU.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    It looks like pop-out chat removes the sidebar and title/search bar for the popped-out window, but retains the enormous chat UI. Bubbles, gutters, huge title, loads of visible editing controls.

    I had hoped that researching the requirements for this use case - where people want to have multiple small windows open - might have got the UI designers to look at the work that has already been done here and invested the few hours of work it would have taken to adjust the CSS for this case.

    But no, the One True User Interface continues unabated.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    It's now been 6 weeks since you announced you were working on a design. (Actually, it's been 2.5 years since you announced that "We spent months testing designs with users".)

    Can you wave the back of a napkin at us? Show us some evidence that the design is being worked on? Show us what you mean by "compact"? Give us a chance to respond at an early stage? Show us you value your users? Give us some reason to trust you?

    Last time, you got all the way to the Big Release and then showed us a view with *less* information on the screen - the precise opposite of what we asked for. Show us stuff early. Show us sketches. Show us... well, anything at all.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Anonymous wrote:

    " I think MS developers are fixated on copying Apple when they actually have the lead in Business Apps"

    This is possibly the "third user" effect, as explained by UI Guru Bruce "Tog" Tognazzi here: https://asktog.com/atc/the-third-user/

    Normally, we consider two classes of users - novices and experts. Tog points out that there is a third class: the users who haven't bought the product yet. For them, it's the stand-out features (that they will never actually use), the large and inviting UI (which is actually a burden in everyday use), the things that look good in demos.

    Hence the focus on things like the background blur, the large and friendly window, the neat colour scheme, and so on, at the expense of things that actually allow you to use the product day after day.

    I am sure that the developers have a list of thigns a mile long that they know would improve the product immensely. But none of them are big or **** enough to attract the attention of the marketing department.

    It's clear that the marketing department never take any notice of what's on UserVoice. Anything requested here that gets fixed is by coincidence - something they wanted fixed anyway.

    This is why I spend some time in other forums, where the marketing department hang out - or at least their potential customers do - trying to point out these annoyances. The Teams blog is nicely visible. The Teams twitter feed too.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    "We are working on a design with more density in mind."

    Alex - as has been said on many occasions, we need to have this as a separate mode.

    There are a large number of users for whom the current layout is perfectly fine. There is another subset of users for whom density is everything.

    No one design can hope to keep all of them happy. This must be a mode, or an option, or a set of options.

    There are millions of Teams users, and the One True UI will not satisfy all of them. We need options. Compact mode is one of them.

    Also - please show us EARLY what you are considering. We can give you useful feedback. It will build trust. We can identify what our requirements are. Please engage! Screenshots, sketches, photos of the back of that napkin that you scribbled something on during the team lunch at Arby's - anything!

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Happy birthday! It has now been three whole years since you first announced that you were "working on it". Since then, we have seen:

    - Claims of design work
    - Claims of user testing
    - Actual release of a feature which did the precise opposite of what was requested
    - Claims of incremental changes, the precise opposite of what was requested
    - "Mere users" prototyping viable layouts in a few hours of their spare time
    - Claims that changes would be rolling out soon
    - Admissions that none of these changes were ever in development
    - Zero evidence of any work at all, not even a sketch of a design
    - Anger and disappointment about repeatedly being given false information of the status of this request
    - A collapse of trust that Microsoft have any intention to listen to any UI input from users

    Looking forward to the fourth anniversary of no work at all. See you all next year!

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    On the Microsoft Teams blog, I have used the history of this request as an example of why "Vote for it on UserVoice" is not an effective strategy for users. In case it is of interest to anyone else, here's the link: https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/microsoft-teams-blog/protecting-your-information-and-staying-compliant-with-microsoft/ba-p/1092617

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    It is now exactly 6 months since Alex's last update... which told us nothing other than the previous "working on it" updates were untrue.

    I wonder how long it will be before Microsoft finally admit they don't care about us and we're not getting this feature at all.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Way back before we moved to Slack because of the terrible UI in Teams, it seems I set an anniversary in my calendar. So, I am back here to check on progress with you all.

    Today is 1000 days since the original announcement on February 8, 2017 that Microsoft had acknowledged the need for a compact mode and were "Working on it".

    One thousand days.

    In that time, we've seen them claim that they have done user feedback assessments, prototyping, usability tests, incremental changes that improved the compactness of the default view (by a tiny amount), that it was "partially done", and then a series of staged backoffs admitting that no work had actually been done, to no work being planned, backtracking all the way to the design stage.

    One thousand days.

    Meanwhile, multiple users prototyped example layouts using CSS in the web client, and in one case even got a completely working version compactified. This took a couple of days.

    One thousand days.

    Meanwhile, for the actual developers, two and a half years have slipped by, and Teams is apparently no closer to a compact mode than it was back in February 2017. It's still one of the top user requests, and we're still being promised that it's coming soon.

    One thousand days.

    Think about that level of commitment to users' concerns. It's ridiculous.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Just popped back to see what was happening. Interesting story arc.

    On Feb 8, 2017, Suphatra said that MS were already working on it, and we should sign up for usability testing.

    On Sept 22, 2017, Warren said "We spent months testing designs with users, reiterating concepts, and reading through your feedback, to make sure we could meet as many of your common needs as we could."

    On July 3 this year, Alex is now saying that they are "working on defining" the compact mode.

    It looks like time is running backwards.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Well done, Jeff. You are at least the fifth person on this thread who has implemented a compact mode, showing that "mere users" such as us can achieve (over and over again) what the entire Teams team has repeatedly failed to do in over 800 days since they first announced that they were "working on it".

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Our team have given up on Teams and are using Slack now, but I just got a calendar reminder so I'm popping back to say: 800 days since first "working on it".

    See you again for the 1000!

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Just popping back to wish a very Happy 2nd Birthday to the work on Compact Mode!

    (I know I'm a day early; I'm out tomorrow.)

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Well, I guess that's it. After 12 months of fruitlessly trying to our engineering team to use Teams, and being rebuffed repeatedly due to the state of the UI, we've deployed Slack instead.

    (This was also helped by Microsoft's forced downgrade from Skype 7 to Skype 8.)

    Takeup was immediate and enthusiastic. Slack has a compact mode option, which is pretty good, and can be made even more compact by CSS injection, a workaround which is not available in Teams.

    That's ~1000 customers gone. Partly because after 20 months you cannot deliver something as simple as editing some CSS to save some space.

    On the plus side, I won't be wasting my time or yours bothering the Teams or Skype teams any more.

    Goodbye everyone. It's been fun talking to you all.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Suphatra is leaving the Teams team. We wish her well, and call on the new holder of the user liaison role to update us on the progress of this simple and necessary feature.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    @Aaron commented: "... when someone types more than 5 lines in a channel then their message is cut off with a "See More" button ..."

    That's a very good point, especially given the whole point of the program is to facilitate communication. Requiring action to be taken just to see a single message is just unbelievably ...
    [See more]

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Another milestone today. It is now 700 days since Microsoft first said they were working on this, the #1 UI request.

    Since then, they said:

    "We now have a design and are conducting 1:1 research testing with users." (2017-04-27)

    "We are working on changes that will be made in the coming weeks, and just need one last round of your input" (2017-06-07)

    "We spent months testing designs with users, reiterating concepts, and reading through your feedback, to make sure we could meet as many of your common needs as we could." (2017-09-22)

    "We are still working on this. There won’t be one huge update, but instead we will release small updates over time" (2018-02-12)

    "Great news everyone, we have made a first step towards a professional compact chat layout. We have released density changes including updates to how message threads collapse. :)" (2018-03-06)

    "we are seriously considering a compact mode" (2018-12-15)

    Throughout this process, the only changes which have actually made it into product are either so trivial as to be effectively invisible, or the polar opposite of what was actually requested.

    "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." (2018-12-15)

    This is absolutely not evident. If it were a guiding design principle, the compact mode would have been implemented within a month of work starting.

    We have spent 700 days (and more) telling you, showing you, and in some cases implementing prototypes of what we need. We could not be more clear. The support for this feature is overwhelming, and it's an option, so it won't disturb a single user who does not want to use it.

    As we go into 2019, we want to see:

    - A public commitment to implement this idea fully and as specified by the users.
    - A timeline for implementation.
    - A consultation process where we get to see what you are doing.
    - Deployment.

    You have had 700 days. Time to deliver.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    The only meaningful engagement I have had with Teams is on social media. By airing our grievances here, we're just in a walled garden where no-one can see, and where we can be ignored with no consequence.

    Microsoft Teams is on Twitter (@MicrosoftTeams) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/MSteams/).

    Complaining there shines a light in public which is harder to ignore.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    @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.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    @MrMan - Thank you.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    @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.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    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.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    @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.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    We need a better "contract" between MS and Uservoice contributors.

    See https://microsoftteams.uservoice.com/forums/555103-public/suggestions/35969446-uservoice-give-detailed-information-on-progress-o, and vote and comment if you agree.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    "we will not be making a sharp design turn towards a permanently heavy dense design"

    Glad to see that this is clear. No-one was asking for that. Many of us have gone to great pains to point out that this is NOT what we want.

    "... we are seriously considering a compact mode. This would be an option"

    This is also good news, and is exactly what we need. We need this to be maximally dense - at least 4x as dense as the default mode.

    "we really appreciate your patience"

    Thanks. But...

    "[PLANNED]"

    Planned?!

    You (as in Microsoft, not you specifically, Suphatra) have been saying since Feb 9 last year that you have been actively working on this. You have had months to update the status to anything other than "working on it". You said that you had "spent months testing designs with users, reiterating concepts, and reading through your feedback".

    It appears that none of these things were true.

    To restore the trust of the UserVoice community, you need to do four things:

    1. Commit to a release schedule, so we are not left in limbo for another two years.
    2. Show progress, and soon.
    3. Share that progress at all stages, so we can feed back early and avoid a repeat of the "collapsed threads" debacle.
    4. Listen.

    We have shown you what we need. We have even shown you how to do it. We now need you to execute and deliver.

    We will continue to press for this feature. It is the first hurdle that all my colleagues so far have balked at when evaluating Teams.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    130 days since Warren's last gnomic pronouncement of no progress.
    283 days since our request for more text on screen was marked "partially complete" with an update that showed less text on screen.
    673 days since first marked as "working on it"
    732 days since submission.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    @Anonymous - "Their definition of "professional compact layout" is just completely different than ours"

    Indeed, which is why I (and others) have shared screenshots of the kind of layout we want, so there can be no misunderstanding. All of us have shown something more or less similar - as much text as possible, as little white space as possible.

    And the thing is that this needs to be a separate mode, not a slight compaction of the default view. This allows MS to use whatever acres of screen real estate they want in the default view, while still coping with the requests of users who want more text on the screen.

    It's not even difficult!

    The only conclusion I can come to now is that MS is not working on this issue at all, but they do not want to tell us that because a lot of people are delaying switching to other products based on the promise that it is coming.

    I hope I am wrong, but this view is reinforced by apparent instructions to the moderators not to engage with this thread.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Happy Birthday to you,
    Happy Birthday to you,
    Happy Birthday dear Please create a professional compact chat layout!
    Happy Birthday to you!

    Congratulations on 2 years as the #1 UI request and still going strong! In that time, you've had 671 days of work, been voted for 7153 times, been solved by users 4 times, spawned one of the longest threads on the forums, and had the most "This feature is coming soon but we can't show you anything" posts of any idea on the UserVoice forums!

    I look forward to celebrating your third birthday next year!

    (Yes, in the absence of any response from any other kind of attempted engagement with the development team, I am now resorting to poor attempts at humor. Will it work? Stay tuned for the next two years to find out!)

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    I have it on good authority that the moderation team has been instructed not to engage with this thread.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    @Anonymous - the most annoying thing is that even if the marketing department don't want to ruin the "look and feel" of the enormous default UI, this option has zero effect on it.

    It's a separate mode, created by loading a different CSS style sheet. There is zero reason not to support it.

    And still no update.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Now 666 days "working on it" with no progress. That's got to be some sort of omen. <rimshot/>

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Suphatra on Twitter said today (2018-12-03): "I have an update for you. However, I'm working through our internal approval chains to get it approved to share externally."

    I have asked her to confirm this officially on this thread.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    7000 votes!

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    "This feature is still in the works. I hope to have more info in the coming weeks."
    - Warren

    The "coming weeks" count now stands at 16.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    This feature is not marked as "In development" on the O365 roadmap, despite having been "working on it" here for over 650 days.

    https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/roadmap?filters=In%20Development&searchterms=teams#owRoadmapMainContent

    Why the discrepancy?

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 
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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    To paraphrase a quote often attributed to Microsoft's founder: "640 days ought to be enough for anybody."

    That's how long the Teams team has been "working on" this request now.

    It's also 100 days since we were last told that nothing was happening. Is nothing still happening?

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Despite this being the #1 requested UI feature, and it being in "working on it" state, it is now 3 months since we were last told there was no progress, and 8 months since any evidence of any kind of development at all. (Even if it was pretty much the exact opposite of what people actually asked for.)

    By way of contrast, Peter Skillman, chief designer of Skype, has shared on Twitter that they have design reviewed a "more compact mode" - https://twitter.com/peterskillman/status/1058782467824349184

    I'm mentioning this as a good example of Microsoft being responsive and sharing progress.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    @Emmanuel
    Indeed. Proper support for compact mode can only come from within the Teams developer team, because of issues like this.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    @Mike, @Emmanuel

    Nice work. Given full control over the CSS, it would be nice to be able to have options to switch individual elements:

    - Bubbles
    - Margins/indentation
    - Left/right alternation in chat
    - User avatars
    - "Like", "Save", other message options on right-click
    - Timestamps
    - Emojis (large/small/off, animations on/off)
    - Link previews
    - "Reply" button (when off, bottom message area becomes "reply" by default)
    - Message/reply colors

    A "fully compact" mode would have all of these set to "off" or "minimum size"

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Nice work, @Emmanuel.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    6502 votes... which is a significant number for computer people of a certain age.

    A quick look at the Wikipedia page (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MOS_Technology_6502) shows that in 1974-5, MOStek assembled a team, designed, laid out, fabricated and launched an entire microprocessor in less time than this ticket has been in "working on it" state.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Anonymous said: "If you are unable to follow the directions on that linked webpage to install as a chrome extension and begin modifying the layout to your heart's content, you are literally unqualified for giving any feedback on this alleged non-issue."

    I'm not sure whether they are saying that this is a non-issue because we can hack around it, or if they are berating MS for taking so long to address it. If it's the latter, then yes, I agree.

    If it's the former, then I profoundly disagree. The hack only works for the web client, not the application. And since when was "you can hack around it" an acceptable response to missing functionality?

    It requires a certain level of knowledge and expertise to even realise that this possibility exists, let alone take advantage of it. And it takes another level to make it work. And even then it's not a supported solution, so if the next update of Teams adds another layer to their already arcane CSS structure, it could break.

    So, yes, while it may work for a small subset of people, it's useless for most. MS must support this as a first-class option in the product itself. And they agree - after all, they are "working on it".

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    @Jeremie - It's worse than that. It was originally promoted to "working on it" status on 9 Feb 2017 (yes, last year), which is now over 600 days ago. In the meantime, Emmanuel has protoyped a complete compact mode for the web client using CSS changes only, in under 4 days. Since the app is just a web page in a box, the same changes should be immediately applicable to the app, too. There's no excuse for MS dragging their feet over this, other than they actually are not working on it after all.

    Suphatra recently admitted (after 2 years) that they weren't working on a Linux client - an announcement which was then hastily withdrawn after the backlash. I suspect that we may be in the same position, but without an announcement.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    @Derek Hsu - There's no suggestion that this would be the default mode, so people who are happy with the current layout would stick with it.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Well, MS have finally admitted that we're not getting a Linux client. Is it time to admit that we're not getting this request either?

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    @Suphatra - It has been 210 days since the last non-empty update from the Teams team.

    Update most definitely required.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    This is the #1 UI request, and the #3 request overall. Please also vote and comment on the main thread: https://microsoftteams.uservoice.com/forums/555103-public/suggestions/17408641-please-create-a-professional-compact-chat-layout

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    This is the #1 UI request, and the #3 request overall. Please also vote and comment on the main thread here: https://microsoftteams.uservoice.com/forums/555103-public/suggestions/17408641-please-create-a-professional-compact-chat-layout

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    @Bo Sørenson - Yes, we can only inject replacement CSS inside a browser. I don't know of a way to do the same thing inside the application.

    Since Microsoft define the application's style sheets and bake them into the application, the only way to get them changed is to persuade the Skype developers to make equivalent changes in the local style sheets.

    Hopefully, by highlighting that it can be done in a reasonable amount of time, with a reasonably small set of changes, and giving them a base to work from, this will speed up that process.

    Of course, this only helps if it is actually a technical problem in the first place.

    Consider the simplicity of the solution, the small amount of time needed to develop it (with no prior knowledge of the code), the very long amount of time with no progress, and the lack of communication over this feature.

    It is difficult to believe that this feature is on the roadmap at all, let alone in "working on it" state, and if the commercial team has said not to work on it, then the developers will not do so, no matter how useful and easy this fix is.

    How can we get the commercial people at Skype to sit up and listen? I hope that it's a cost/benefit thing. If the cost is small, and the benefit is that people get a better experience, then it's possible that they might change their minds and actually allow some work to happen.

    @Suphatra - What is the real state of this feature?

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    @Emmanuel - Thanks. I know what you mean about the HTML!

    So there we have it, Microsoft. A working compact mode takes 4 days. You're "working on it", so now you know how it's done, we look forward to seeing it this time next week.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    @Emmanuel - Great work.

    Roughly how long did it take you to make this? My original one was a couple of hours, but it had a lot of missing functionality and yours is a lot more polished.

    It should be embarrassing for Microsoft that four different individual users on this thread have each come up with prototypes in hours or days, while the official team of (how many?) engineers have made precisely zero progress in 600 days.

    @Suphatra - Can you please let us know if this is actually being worked on.

    Continued silence from Warren, month after month, makes it is hard to avoid the conclusion that this is *not* in fact being worked on, and that the "working on it" status is maintained only as a lure in hope of preventing us from switching to other solutions.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    This was first promoted to "working on it" on 9 Feb 2017, exactly 600 days ago.

    We have seen zero improvement in all that time.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    @Suphatra - glad to see you're back from maternity leave - welcome back!

    Sadly while you've been away, not much has changed. Or progressed. Nothing at all has happened on this request. No progress, no feedback, no sharing, no requests for input, nothing.

    Oh, one thing of note. Yet another person has spent a few hours playing with CSS and prototyped a compact mode. That makes three of us so far. None of us, unfortunately, are Teams developers, so it didn't actually get into the product.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    I just noticed my previous post got caught by the naughty words filter. There were no naughty words, just an overzealous filter noticing two innocuous words close together.

    To clarify, the first sentence should have started "Just to remind the team who are working hard" and continued "on this, ..."

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Just to remind the team who are working ******* this, this should be a separate mode. A compromise will not work - it will not be compact enough for serious users and too sparse for casual users.

    The mode must be as minimal as possible.

    If possible, split it out into separate options so people can customize their UI.

    - Turn speech bubbles on/off
    - Turn left/right alternation on/off
    - Turn avatar pictures on/off
    - Turn timestamps on/off
    - Turn single threaded conversations on/off
    - Hide command bar (move title back to title bar, move command bar to menu)
    - Choose font
    - Choose colors
    - Allow multi-window - sub-windows have no sidebar

    Compact mode would be a short way to say "All of these off, please."

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    I was looking at the Teams twitter feed and found this:

    https://myeventurl.azurewebsites.net/Events/Details/388

    There's a public conference call every Tuesday at 10am Pacific, where users have a chance to ask questions. I'm outside the US, so the 800 number won't work for me, but it may be of interest to US users.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    I notice that @Warren just yesterday declined the "Screen Space" request (https://microsoftteams.uservoice.com/forums/555103-public/suggestions/18613144-screen-space), which is fairly similar to this one, and pointed people from that thread to here.

    Welcome to all the people from that thread. Please vote for this idea too, so that we can get it to the #2 overall position, and hopefully get some (any) movement from Microsoft in this direction.

    So far, we've had 18 months of inactivity and not a single pixel of screen real estate saved.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    I notice that there has been a flurry of official responses on other threads, but nothing here, on the #1 UI request.

    MrMan confirms that feedback was solicited and that screenshots of proposals were shared with the test group. Can we see them, at least? Then we can give some constructive feedback rather than (metaphorically) shouting down a well.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    @MrMan - Thanks for the feedback. It's nice to have some confirmation that something did happen, at least at the start.

    @Warren - Any reply to this, or news on actually getting a compact mode?Or an ETA? Or an ETA for an ETA?

    At its simplest, it's purely a presentation change. At least 3 of us have independently implemented prototypes with a few hours' CSS hacking.

    At the moment, it's hard to avoid feeling like we're Charlie Brown, you're Lucy, and this feature is a football.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    This is the #1 UI request, and the #3 request overall.

    However, despite Microsoft announcing that they have been "working on it" for over 18 months, there is zero progress.

    Please vote for the main thread over here: https://microsoftteams.uservoice.com/forums/555103-public/suggestions/17408641-please-create-a-professional-compact-chat-layout

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Nearly a year ago, Gino wrote:

    "I’m Gino and I’m the Product Manager that’s been hard at work to bring you a more compact chat design. First, I really want to thank you for your patience while we worked on this request. We spent months testing designs with users, reiterating concepts, and reading through your feedback, [...]"

    In order to build confidence, could we perhaps see some of these multiple designs which were tested on users? Or share some of the concepts and see how they iterated?

    Were any of the users they were tested on actually users which had asked for a compact mode in the first place? That seems like the natural set of people to ask. Did anyone in this thread participate in the feedback process?

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Nice one, Emmanuel. This is, as far as I can see, the third time in this thread that someone has implemented a compact mode with a few hours CSS hacking, and shared their results.

    Meanwhile Microsoft have now been "working on it" for over 555 days, with no screenshots, sketches, scripts, not even any mockups, mashups, or maybes.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 
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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Warren - over in the Skype 7/Skype 8 user revolt, product designer Peter Skillman is actually showing us what they're doing, to show that they are actually taking people's concerns seriously and reassure them that things are actually happening:

    https://twitter.com/peterskillman/status/1029738845170888704

    How about you guys do the same?

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Another 8 weeks and we still have no more information. Zero rough designs. Zero proposed changes for review. Zero ETA. Zero feedback. Zero evidence of any work.

    All these zeroes add up to zero confidence.

    Sorry, Warren, but I simply don't believe you when you say that this is being worked on.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 
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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    @LutzHH - Yes, seriously, this, together with multi-window mode, is my top priority.

    My preferred way of working with chat is to have several small chat windows open at any one time, alongside my primary task. Without that ability to do that, any other features or defects become a lot less relevant. It is inconvenient to have to use a tool that requires me to change the way I work, not just in Teams but my whole desktop.

    On the other hand, I understand that it may not be a big problem for the way you work. That's fine too. The user base for Teams is diverse, and we all work in different ways. This is why the vast majority of respondents on this thread have said that this should be an option.

    And lots of other things should be options too, of course, to help us all work the way we want to.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    To save duplication, here's a link to a message I posted about making code snippets more compact, over in https://microsoftteams.uservoice.com/forums/555103-public/suggestions/16932697-code-snippets

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    We have now reached the (totally arbitrary but nonetheless satisfying) milestone of 5000 votes for this idea.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    And the July update comes around, with no visible change. So, to save Warren the trouble, "This feature request is still in the works. No additional details are available at this time."

    On the other hand, MS has committed to making both the Teams and Skype-for-Business UIs as compact as the consumer Skype UI on 1 September!

    Unfortunately, this is by the simple expedient of forcing everyone who is still using Skype Classic to "upgrade" to Skype 8.x, which looks a lot like Teams and has many of the same UI problems.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Good news, everyone. This idea just overtook the "Full planner" thread and is now one of the top 3 most-requested features.

    This can only be good for gaining attention at Microsoft.

    Warren - it's almost time for the July update, any progress?

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    This is the #1 top request in the UI category. Please vote and comment on the main thread here: https://microsoftteams.uservoice.com/forums/555103-public/suggestions/17408641-please-create-a-professional-compact-chat-layout

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Sunday was the 500-day anniversary of the original "Working on it" message.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Warren,

    It has now been sixteen months since you first said you were working on this request, back in February 2017, and four months since you actually asked us what you should be working on.

    There is still no effective change in the June update. No "beta" compact mode for us to try out. No change in even the simplest things, like margins or spacing. As far as I can tell, not a single additional pixel has been dedicated to displaying useful chat content.

    This is the most popular UI/UX feature request, by a very long way, and only about 100 votes from the top 3 of all feature requests. It's an option, which means that it doesn't have to affect the default experience of users or the "brand identity". Basic layout changes using CSS have been independently prototyped by at least two of us on this thread, in a few hours of our spare time.

    What's holding up development?

    It's getting increasingly difficult to believe that any work is happening at all on this request. Please share any kind of information about what is being planned, and what has been achieved already.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 
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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Drew, having done some experiments with CSS on the web client, it's not as simple a fix as it seems to be at first glance. The document model layout is rather odd and there are CSS properties shared between unrelated elements which just happen to look the same (a depressingly common anti-pattern and a sin I have in the past committed myself).

    That said, the effort required to clean this up and define a new CSS file is nowhere near a year's work.

    I think the non-technical problems need further examination, though.

    The fact that MS did not actually ask what we meant by "compact" until nearly a year after saying that they were working on it suggests strongly that they were not working on it at all during that time.

    This may not be true, but it leads to a trust issue, and makes it important that MS share any progress - even if it's just sketches on the back on an envelope - to reassure users that they are actually working on it.

    Warren - what progress have you made in the last month?

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Not only does Teams take up an inordinate amount of screen real-estate, but it then refuses to use a fair chunk of it.

    I have a tall half-monitor-width window with 5 icons in the left side-bar, and room for at least another 10. Do I see 15 icons? No, after 5 we have the "..." icon which shunts the other icons into a pop-over menu. I don't get to choose how many icons are displayed, or which icons are where.

    Similarly, I click on the "Teams" icon in the sidebar and I see the first 3 channels in my currently-selected team... with a "1 more channel" indicator (which takes as much space as the channel it replaced - go figure) shunting the last channel into another submenu despite having room for about 25 additional channels.

    Effective use of the space we have is an essential part of the compact mode - reduce the number of pixels but give users the configuration options to make every pixel count.

    Still, there's hope. Redmond magazine says that developers are getting more support from Teams. (https://redmondmag.com/articles/2018/05/07/build-2018-dev-support-microsoft-teams.aspx) My impression is that a lot of the respondents on this thread are developers, so perhaps this means that compact mode is on the cards?

    What? No, I don't believe it either, unfortunately.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Hi, Warren. Thanks for the update, but "No updates"?

    No plans, prototypes, or precursors; no screenshots, samples, sketches, specimens or suggestions; no requests for feedback; no mockups, no models, no what-ifs or what-d'you-thinks; no designs, drawings, or delineations; not even any napkins with scribbles on them?

    Not a single margin reduced? Not a single size limit changed? Not a single new option anywhere? Not a single additional line of text on the screen?

    Forgive me, but after more than a year, I'm getting the feeling that there really *is* no work going on here, despite the "working on it" status. I will be ecstatic to be proven wrong, and if so you may dance about outside my office for a week singing "I told you so".

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    The main thread calling for a more compact UI option is here - https://microsoftteams.uservoice.com/forums/555103-public/suggestions/17408641-please-create-a-professional-compact-chat-layout - and currently has over 4000 votes and a promise from MS that Something is Being Done.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Anonymous - the ability to 'roll up' Conversations was introduced in the last update.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    For comparison, here are the view options of various MS products:

    Windows Explorer: Extra large icons, large icons, medium icons, small icons, list, details, tiles, content.
    Word: Read mode, print layout, web layout, outline, draft, zoom, multi-page (vertical, side-to-side), advanced options/customization.
    Excel: Normal, page-break preview, page layout, custom view, zoom, freeze panes, split, hide, advanced options/customization.
    Outlook: Compact, single, preview, pane layout, sort, conversations, advanced options/customization.
    Powerpoint: Normal, outline, slide sort, notes page, reading view, zoom, grayscale, advanced options/customization.

    Teams: Dark or light.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    The free file explorer application that comes with Windows does this, with various view modes available for different types of content and persistently configurable for different folders. Teams should offer the same functionality.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    This is a very popular suggestion. The main thread is at https://microsoftteams.uservoice.com/forums/555103-public/suggestions /17408641-please-create-a-professional-compact-chat-layout - please comment and vote!

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Forgot to mention the changes to the reply box:
    * Remove the "start a new conversation" box - that's one action in the "..." menu.
    * Reduced height of reply box by default. All non-trivial options now in the "..." menu. (There should be an option to display the formatting controls for people who need them a lot.)

    And most importantly of all, MAKE THIS LAYOUT MODE AN OPTION.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Here's a modified screenshot based on my CSS modifications, with some extra changes: https://moteprime.org/images/teams-compact-screenshot-modified-20180312.png

    It includes these changes:

    * The conversation compaction changes I pointed out in my previous post - collapse pretty much all padding, spacing, separators, etc.
    * It moves the conversation topic back into the title bar, where it belongs.
    * The left bar is narrower. Could be made even narrower with smaller icons.
    * Vertical space at the top is reduced by putting more things on the same line.
    * The right gutter is removed.
    * The name fields could probably be smaller - how about allowing people to drag the width of this region so they can choose just enough space to distinguish between people in the conversation?
    * The image is a bit wonky in places, but those are bugs, not features.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    I have created a Stylus stylesheet that overrides the formatting of Teams for the web, so that it approximates what I would want to see from a compact mode.

    It hides the left pane, user icons, timestamp, and separators. It collapses almost all padding and margins. It shifts the user's name to the left, and the reply icon off to the right. It shrinks the title and tab bars.

    IMPORTANT NOTE: This is not designed to be functional. The hidden things are permanently hidden. I cannot get rid of the right margin for some reason. I haven't tried to hide the action bar or the sidebar. There's some kind of Javascript interaction that tries to scroll downwards all the time. But it should give an idea of what a truly compact mode should look like.

    If you're interested you can download it from:

    https://moteprime.org/downloads/style-teams-compact-mode-20180307.txt

    Note that this is just the result of some CSS tweaking and took me a lunchtime. Clearly, to be properly functional it'll take more work, but since selecting the mode apparently involves little more that the choice of loading two different CSS templates, it should be easily achievable.

    I look forward to seeing it in the next update ;-)

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    The reply button and text widgets are only required because all conversations are presented in a single pane, even when you are participating in one.

    One feature of the compact mode could be to switch focus to a single conversation, which would take over the whole pane, like Chat does. You wouldn't even require a reply button in this mode - just click on any message in the conversation to open it. The conversation would then have a single text input box at the bottom, like chat.

    This may require an additional level of hierarchy to easily switch between conversations, but would be usable even just using the existing multi-conversation pane to select one, and it would be even more useful when combined with the ability to "tear off" panes into separate windows, which is also a popular request.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Repeating myself, THIS ABSOLUTELY NEEDS TO BE A SEPARATE LAYOUT OPTION.

    We really do want this feature, but not at the expense of others. There is simply no way that a single layout can be sufficiently compact for those who need it (e.g. most of the people here), and also support those who don't (e.g. Chris Webb, below).

    The small changes so far are very welcome additions to the non-compact view. But this is nowhere near a "compact layout" - not even close.

    The latest version increases information density (pixels in actual conversation / pixels in window) by maybe 20%. But that's from a baseline of about 10%, so it's now at around 12%. I am prepared to bet that the people asking for a a truly compact view want it to be closer to 50% - that's 4x denser than it is now.

    Tinkering with the default view will not achieve this - it needs to be a radical trim of all extraneous information.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    I see the collapse/expand, which is a good addition to the non-compact mode, but I don't see a way to switch into compact view mode

    I would expect it to be on the settings menu somewhere, or on the channel menu if it's a per-channel setting. Am I missing something?

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Just to ram home the extent of the problem, I have uploaded an annotated screen shot at http://www.moteprime.org/images/Microsoft%20Teams%20Quarter%20Screen%20Example.png

    This is a quarter-screen window (800x600 on my monitor) which leaves me space for other conversations and activities. The total window area is 480,000 pixels

    The red areas indicate the content I am actually interested in while engaged in this conversation. This totals roughly 47,500 pixels.

    The useful information density in this window is therefore just below 10%.

    Clearly, we still need things like window titles, and some UI elements, but a 4x increase in density should be achievable without too much fuss.

    Sean Ellis supported this idea  · 
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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Personally I need compact, but this crucially ALSO requires density. I really want to be able to work with multiple small windows open at once, onto different channels. This requires a maximized density of chat in each window.

    And it absolutely must be an option. Trying to somewhat-compactify the default view will not work; it will not be compact enough for those of us who require a compact view, and too compact for those who don't. Skype tried this and they failed.

    And even doing both isn't a year-long project. Making it both compact AND dense should be about a week's work if the code is well structured, a couple of weeks if it isn't. Oh, go on then - I've seen the CSS for web Skype, and if it's anything like that, lets give the developer a whole six months to untangle it first. Still nowhere near a year.

    If it's not perfect, fine - it's an option; label it "Beta" and give us something concrete to critique and build confidence. Or even just share a screenshot or two of what you've done so far.

    This question should have been asked at 8 o'clock, day one, 9 February 2017.

    It's now 12 February 2018, and you say you've been "Working on it" for the intervening year. But you're only just now asking what "it" means. I'm sure you can see how that looks from the outside.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Happy Birthday, Compact Layout Implementation Team!

    Today is the first anniversary of the announcement that MIcrosoft were working on implementing a compact chat layout. "Its happening. We’re working on this!" said Suphatra.

    Any chance of an anniversary update? Are you really working on it? Really? Honestly? No, really, this is a serious question. What progress has been made? When will we see, well, anything at all?

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 
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    Sean Ellis commented  · 
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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Paul Diller wrote "It would be nice to offer options in this area" - I'll stress again that this isn't a nice-to-have, it's a must-have. There is no one layout which will satisfy everyone; meaningful layout options are therefore essential.

    This also allows the Teams developers to appease the marketing department ("The default view will stay the same, don't worry about the Brand Identity...") while actually giving more users what they have been asking for.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    No mention of compact mode or UI changes in the 10 January update.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    This has been a very popular request. The main thread was started over 2 years ago, and it's nearly a year since Microsoft acknowledged that they were working on it.

    See: https://microsoftteams.uservoice.com/forums/555103-public/suggestions/17408641-please-create-a-professional-compact-chat-layout

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Warren,

    "No additional update details"

    Sorry to be negative, but are you really working on it? Really?

    OK, let's avoid details and instead focus on some broad brush questions which are unlikely to change in the few days it should take to implement this feature...

    - Will this be an option? (And if not, why not? You will never please a wide user base with one layout - see previous posts ad nauseam.)

    - How much more compact will it be? Let's say, a ballpark figure for, say, how much text you can fit in an 800x600 quarter-screen window, compared to speech-bubble mode. 1.1x? 1.5x? 2x?

    - Why is is taking so long to make what should be minor parameter changes to the text layout engine?

    There's still a week before Christmas - that should be plenty of time to come back with a reply.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    @Anders: Surely that's "Still waiting x 281"

    (First confirmation that MS are working on this simple feature was posted by Suphatra, Feb 09 2017. It is currently November 28. That's 281 days... so far.)

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Erik Maas has, on his own, gone a long way to addressing the problem for browser users using some straightforward CSS wrangling.

    Contrast this with the progress we see from the developers.

    I am convinced that the developers could easily address these problems, but that they are being instructed not to by the commercial team, because of a perceived requirement for "style" over "design".

    A similar request made to the Skype team resulted in exactly that response - the "look" is part of the Skype brand identity, never mind whether it's actually usable or not. Tough luck, sucks to be a serious Skype user.

    @Gino - is this what's actually happening? Will we ever see a real compact mode, and separate conversations in separate windows? If you say "hard luck", then at least we know where we stand.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Gino - Is this an option?

    The key thing here, as I have said on multiple occasions, is that different people use the product differently. A single layout will necessarily be a compromise and will not satisfy anywhere near as many people as a couple of distinct, targeted options.

    Personally, I want to see a maximally-compact layout. No left rail. No gutters. No emojis. No bubbles. Just show me as much of the text of the conversation as you possibly can, in a small window that I can use alongside my primary task.

    That's not going to work for everyone - and I wouldn't expect it to. Options allow you to span more of the space of user requirements.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    TL;DR: we definitely need a maximally-compact view as an option.

    Why? You're making the main view more compact, isn't that enough? No.

    The File Explorer in Windows is a great example of why optional view modes are a requirement, and why a single view mode is insufficient.

    When viewing a folder full of files, you have the choice of "Extra large icons", "Large icons", "Medium icons", "Small icons", "List", "Details", "Tiles" and "Content".

    These all address radically different use cases. There is no one view mode that would successfully satisfy the different needs of all of them.

    It's the same with Teams (and the other Microsoft chat products too) - the user base is diverse, and we use chat for a number of different purposes in a wide range of different contexts.

    Trying to find a compromise that will satisfy everyone will end up pleasing no-one.

    Please give us options to customize the product to serve our individual needs.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Excellent - a move in the right direction.

    There's no need to "jar the existing user base" with a truly compact mode: simply make it an option. Microsoft products are used by a wide range of people in lots of different ways, so supporting good configurability should make it better for everyone.

    Different people have different perceptual needs. Some of these are physical; a color-blind person will falter if a UI presents status information using only color as a cue. A person with impaired motor control may require larger icons or slower double-click times. Sometimes these needs are not physically constrained, but are simply a consequence of the way something is being used.

    There is, in many cases, no one right answer. Different needs may, in fact, be diametrically opposed, and a solution for one is a serious impairment for another. Therefore there must be some configurability in order to meet the diverse needs of the user. Here's Ben Shneiderman, from his "Eight Golden Rules of Interface Design":

    "Recognize the needs of diverse users and design for plasticity,
    facilitating transformation of content. Novice to expert differences,
    age ranges, disabilities, and technological diversity each enrich
    the spectrum of requirements that guides design. Adding features
    for novices, such as explanations, and features for experts, such
    as shortcuts and faster pacing, can enrich the interface design
    and improve perceived system quality."

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Any official update on progress on this feature? It doesn't seem too difficult - a few parameter changes to the chat layout engine should be enough to make the chat a lot more usable, at least.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Absolutely - this is my top request.

    (This view option also needs to be available for Skype for Business and consumer Skype, although user opinion on this feature has been studiously ignored for both those products.)

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    I mean, why? Answer - because Teams breaks the window manager in Windows as well, by putting custom controls in the title bar. This is a UI 101 rookie error - always conform to platform UI conventions.

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    25 comments  ·  Public » Teams and Channels  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Why does this limit exist at all?

  5. 8,804 votes
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    726 comments  ·  Public » Messaging  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    @Alex - "We have been iterating on different designs and are starting to test internally."

    That was 15 months ago.

    Show us screenshots of these design iterations.
    Show us your test results.
    Show us your working.
    Show us you're working.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    About 10 months ago you started "iterating on different designs". Sorry, but I for one don't believe you at all. How about sharing some of those designs with us? Even if it's just a photo of the paper napkin with a rough sketch on it. Then you'll regain some trust and get some useful feedback.

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    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.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Good news - hopefully it puts "start a new conversation" as a separate button, and removes the space-wasting "Reply" button from each thread.

    Please post a screenshot of what it looks like, so we can feed back before 2019.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    A very common problem. The whole chat UI appears to be set up to trap people into doing this by mistake, and there is no way to move a conversation once it has been started.

    See also https://microsoftteams.uservoice.com/forums/555103-public/suggestions/16925779-hide-the-reply-button-under-every-message

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    As I've pointed out before, the visual delineation would not be needed if the chat interface conformed to user expectations - i.e. it works like every other chat interface.

    Making the reply button more visible is a sticking plaster, not a solution.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Another example of why the multithreaded chat needs a complete overhaul. Confusion arises because it's not consistent with other chat programs, and not even self-consistent within Teams itself.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    This is a very common request, and is caused by the chat UI not conforming to the standard conventions. In every other chat program, the text box at the bottom of the screen is the thing you use to continue the current conversation.

    This actively works against the ingrained muscle memory of everyone except people who have only ever used Teams. Microsoft's response appears to be to make the "reply" buttons more prominent.

    (See this thread on the placement of the "reply" button - https://microsoftteams.uservoice.com/forums/555103-public/suggestions/16925779-hide-the-reply-button-under-every-message)

    It is a bit like creating a car with the brake and accelerator pedals exchanged. It does not matter how many brightly colored stickers you put on the dashboard saying "Accelerator over here!", it will still lead to accidents.

    There is also no way to merge threads back into a conversation when mistakes inevitably occur.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Absolutely spot on.

    The original thread discussing this is here - https://microsoftteams.uservoice.com/forums/555103-public/suggestions/16925779-hide-the-reply-button-under-every-message - and largely concentrated on ways to hide the "reply" button.

    However (as you will see from my comments in that thread) I absolutely agree with you that the problem is the inversion of the usual pattern of chat UI.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    A very common complaint. This is an example of what happens when you violate the UI rules of consistency. Pretty much every other text messaging app uses the box at the bottom to continue the current conversation, so this is what users expect.

    A good solution to this would be the ability to put conversations into their own tabs, and then to let these be "torn off" into separate windows so you can see more than one at once.

    This is part of the (very popular) request for a more compact and professional view. Main thread at: https://microsoftteams.uservoice.com/forums/555103-public/suggestions/17408641-please-create-a-professional-compact-chat-layout

    Sean Ellis supported this idea  · 
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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    I couldn't agree more. The "start a new conversation" box is exactly where all other IM clients put their "add a comment" box. Here's my wishlist:

    1. Move the "start a new conversation" function to a button or menu, so it is visually and operationally distinct from adding a comment.
    2. Allow individual conversations to be popped out or placed in a tab so that you can focus on one thing at once.
    3. Make this an option, so that people who like the current style are not penalized.
    4. Allow conversations to be merged when the inevitable mistakes happen.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    The key thing here is that in every other chat interface I have ever seen, the bottom-most text input control is the "reply to this conversation" box. By making it the "new conversation" box, you are requiring people to un-learn all that experience from other applications.

    As UI Guru Bruce Tognazzi puts it:

    "It doesn’t matter how fine a logical argument you can put together for how something should work. If users expect it to work a different way, you will be facing an uphill and often unwinnable battle to change those expectations. If your way offers no clear advantage, go with what your users expect."

    Judging by the amount of traffic on this ticket, the way users expect is that the bottom box should continue, not start, a conversation.

  6. 65 votes
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    12 comments  ·  Schools and Universities » Messaging  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    - Not a compact chat.
    - Cannot zoom the pop-out chat window.
    - Zoom does not increase density.
    - Does not address the other "and more" use cases, e.g. popping out a team, a wiki page, etc.

    Sean Ellis supported this idea  · 
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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    I note that the original ticket was "Pop-out windows for chats *and more*".

    This is a pattern I have seem here on UserVoice - close a half-implemented ticket, dump all the votes in a bin, stop people feeding back on it immediately, and fragment the feedback among several small, low-priority threads.

  7. 3 votes
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    1 comment  ·  Bug Reports » UX/Design  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Also doesn't respond to Ctrl+Mousewheel to zoom

    Sean Ellis supported this idea  · 
  8. 2 votes
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    0 comments  ·  Bug Reports » UX/Design  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
    Sean Ellis shared this idea  · 
  9. 4,430 votes
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    591 comments  ·  Public » Teams and Channels  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    "Such a simple toggle to add and yet people are left waiting two years+++?"

    Connor, adding UI controls undermines the One True Interface. You don't get to choose. Once Microsoft have decided what's best for you, the thinking has been done. You just have to accept and adapt your use of the product to match the user interface, not the other way around.

    See also: Font selection, compact mode, notification options, notification sounds, color selection, window sizing, search in title bar, ... and in fact most of the rest of this UserVoice forum.

    Sean Ellis supported this idea  · 
  10. 3,487 votes
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    591 comments  ·  Public » Notifications  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Hey, look at that!

    We asked, repeatedly, for options and configurability, and we just got a new One True Sound which some people dislike.

    Once again, Microsoft demonstrate that they are simply not listening to their user base.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Since there has been a flurry of merges for this topic, let me reiterate: Notifications (including sounds) MUST be configurable per-team, per-channel, and per-person.

    Where there are many channels, some will be high-volume but low-priority. Others will be low-volume and critical priority. Not being able to distinguish between them makes notifications effectively useless. You're either flooded with low-priority stuff which conditions you to ignore them, or you don't get notifications for anything.

    Either way, you are very likely to miss a critical message.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    20 months since first reported, and still no action.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Like so many things, this should be configurable globally, per-view, and per-person.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    The sound files used for notifications, and their volumes, should be settable globally, per-channel and per-user.

    Sean Ellis supported this idea  · 
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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Notification sound should and volume be configurable globally, per-channel and per-user.

    See also https://microsoftteams.uservoice.com/forums/555103-public/suggestions/33224782-hierarchical-settings

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Audio and visual alerts should be customizable globally and for people, channels, teams, chats, tabs and other items.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Always give the user the choice.

    I work in a quiet office and obtrusive notifications would be annoying. But many people work in much more noisy environments.

    No one sound scheme will work for everyone, so allow customization.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    If implemented, this must definitely be an option!

  11. 33 votes
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    7 comments  ·  Public » Tabs  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    The Teams date format is set by changing your locale. That's a reasonable default, but I'm an English (UK) user who wants dates to appear in ISO-8601 format. There is no way to do that as far as I can see.

  12. 7,223 votes
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    202 comments  ·  Public » Calendar  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Hey, admins. The previous-admin-but-one started hunting down the status of this request over a year ago. Has anything come back?

  13. 9,229 votes
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    780 comments  ·  Public » Teams and Channels  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →

    if you have an existing post that you want to show in a different channel, you can edit the message and cross-post. This will add the top-level post to the different channel, but will not include the full set of replies. We will keep this request in mind as we evolve the cross-posting feature in the future and update if the status changes.

    Details on cross posting can be found here: https://support.office.com/article/cross-post-a-channel-conversation-in-teams-9c1252a3-67ef-498e-a7c1-dd7147b3d295.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Three years old. Over a year since the last information-free update.

    And a high priority due to the deficiencies of the chat UI which makes it easy to start conversations in the wrong place.

    Sean Ellis supported this idea  · 
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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    19 months since first problem report, no change.

    Teams needs to change its chat interface, which currently uses ingrained behavior patterns to actively encourage users to start a new thread when they mean to reply to an existing one.

    In the meantime, please ensure that users at least have the ability to correct that wrong action once it has happened.

  14. 6,440 votes
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    839 comments  ·  Public » Files  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Yet another simple usability feature de-prioritised. Implementing "Right-click > Save as..." and invoking the standard file dialog box is not exactly rocket surgery now, is it?

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    The default download location should be settable globally, per-team and per-channel. It should also be possible to right click on the file icon, select "Save as..." and select a directory.

    Sean Ellis supported this idea  · 
  15. 1,040 votes
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    189 comments  ·  Public » Tabs  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    They don't need to be kept in memory in their entirety (although that is the quickest way to do it).

    But they must retain their state. Switching away from a tab and back again must leave you in the same state as when you left.

    For instance, in a conversation, this requires saving your position in the chat and any half-composed messages - a few kilobytes of data at most. The rest can be recreated on demand.

    As a cheap speedup, also cache just the messages displayed on screen, display them immediately and then reload the rest of the conversation history in the background.

    This then becomes one part of the requirement to be able "tear off" any tab into its own window - another request that's been asked for repeatedly for years.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    A common problem. Views are not persistent - switch away, switch back and they are back to their default state and position.

    All views should be persistent, ideally even when exiting and restarting Teams.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    All views should retain their state when you switch away and back again, and preferably when you log off and back in.

    This also ties in nicely with the need to tear off any view into its own window.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    This is a common request. The tabs should at least keep their state when you switch away, and it would also be useful to "tear off" tabs into their own free-floating windows. There's a longer thread discussing this here: https://microsoftteams.uservoice.com/forums/555103-public/suggestions/16926739-multi-window-for-chats-and-more

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    All views should retain their state when switching to another view, and preferably between invocations of Teams too.

    This is closely related to the idea of being able to tear off individual views into their own windows - see https://microsoftteams.uservoice.com/forums/555103-public/suggestions/16926739-multi-window-for-chats-and-more

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    All channels and tabs should remember their state. This is a necessary step to being able to tear-off any channel or tab into its own window, which is a widely-requested feature.

    Sean Ellis supported this idea  · 
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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    And allow us to tear off tabs into separate windows (without the sidebars) so that we can get maximally compact multiple conversations on screen at once.

    (Requires actually-compact mode to be implemented.)

  16. 2,388 votes
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    246 comments  ·  Public » UX/Design  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    "App language determines the date and time format."

    Why? I use English(UK) but my preferred date and time format is ISO-8601. That's what is set up in my system preferences.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    567 days should be enough to insert one call to toLocaleDateString() and one call to toLocaleTimeString().

    This gets everything displayed in the machine locale's date and time format.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    20 months since first report, still no action.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Warren: "the team does understand this is a big need".

    MS UI guidelines say that supporting the system time and date format is "the very least" that an app should do.

    My initial thought was that the Windows API has a function that does exactly this - GetDateFormatEx(). But it's really a HTML application under the hood.

    No problem - the Javascript API has functions that does exactly this too - https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/scripting/javascript/reference/intl-datetimeformat-object-javascript

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    I'm voting for this but as an option. At the very least, the application should respect the user's choice of locale which includes date format.

    Sean Ellis supported this idea  · 
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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    This has already been discussed at https://microsoftteams.uservoice.com/forums/555103-public/suggestions/16935160-use-same-date-and-time-format-as-in-my-computer-s and MS say it's "under review" despite proper date/time format handling listed as best practice in their own UI guidelines.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Ooh, look - Microsoft's own UI guidelines instruct app developers to respect the user's choice of date and time format:

    --

    Dates and times

    Don't hard-code the format of dates and times. Respect the user's choice of locale and customization options for the date and time formats. The user selects these in the Region and Language control panel item.

    --

    https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/dn742478(v=vs.85).aspx

  17. 7,965 votes
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    1001 comments  ·  Public » Wiki  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Over 1000 days to *not* implement search. This is not rocket surgery.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Nearly three years waiting for a simple "search" feature.
    Over a year since the last "no information" update.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    "we’re looking into this straight away."

    598 days.

    Sean Ellis supported this idea  · 
  18. 2,380 votes
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    300 comments  ·  Public » Wiki  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
    on the backlog  ·  Warren responded

    This item is still on the backlog. I will continue to track this item and provide updates as soon as I get new updates.

    -Warren

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Over 1000 days to implement printing.

    Sorry, that's inaccurate. Over 1000 days to *not* implement printing.

    Sean Ellis supported this idea  · 
  19. 2 votes
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    2 comments  ·  Public » UX/Design  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    This has a lot in common with the "Compact mode" request, which has been open now for over 1000 days. https://microsoftteams.uservoice.com/forums/555103-public/suggestions/17408641-compact-mode

  20. 1,112 votes
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    156 comments  ·  Public » UX/Design  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    "Your Office 365 admin can customize the sidebar for the entire organization."

    Not saying that isn't a good first step, but it's a slap in the face knowing that the capability exists but isn't exposed to the actual users.

    Still, it is consistent with Microsoft's general policy, which seems to be to deny users any meaningful customisation of their own experience, in denial of the basic rules of UI design.

    Can't customise what's in the sidebar. Can't set colors for channels. Can't turn notifications on and off for different events independently. Can't resize the window sufficiently. Can't choose a compact view. Can't set the event notification sound. Can't ... oh, just read the rest of this entire forum.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 
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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    The sidebar contents should definitely be configurable by the user. The diversity of applications for Teams means that a single layout will not work for everyone.

    Sean Ellis supported this idea  · 
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