Thinking About UI

2020/07/06

Microsoft is rolling out a new update to the Office.com website and for those who have been using Microsoft Teams for the past three-plus years you will notice it looks VERY familiar. If you have not seen the update roll into your productive tenant here is a picture of it. (I have not seen it land in my production tenant but I am sure it’s coming soon.)

New Stuff Is Coming

Let me first start by saying that I love Teams. I believe deep in my heart that Microsoft has absolutely nailed it. It is a game changer and the world will be forever different because of Teams. But that does not mean it is a perfect tool and could not be improved. And when I saw the new Office.com UI that it is time to have an honest discussion about the Teams client and specifically the Teams user interface. When I work with customers, I often hear a few common complaints:

  • It is too busy
  • It is too difficult to find information
  • It is too difficult to find other tenants
  • It has too many options
  • It takes up too much space

It is entirely possible that Microsoft could collapse the side menu for all apps. Would this make it easier to find applications and information or make things even more confusing? I have no inside information that they are going to do this, and this is 100% speculation.

This has some advantages of a layout because it collapses several applications into a single place and makes it easy to find the tools. But it might increase the complaints about it being too busy.

Let Us Think Outside the Box

The number one complain I hear from customers repeatedly is that stuff is buried everywhere. And not only are items buried, but the SAME data is hiding under various locations. Here is a great example:

On the left side you will see the options you get when you click on the three dots (more menu) from the main navigation page. Then in the upper right corner, there is another more menu and it has the same options – except this one has the Open SharePoint Option.

And this is just one spot where we have redundant options. And although Microsoft has a long history of redundant right-click menus looking at you Windows it’s time to reduce the complexity. Where else could Microsoft reduce the clutter?

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