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Teams: Following and Favorites are Confusing
In message MC175213 posted on March 5, Microsoft announced that they’re changing the “channel action” terminology used in Teams to describe how users organize teams and receive notifications of activity in team channels. Apparently, the old model of marking some teams as favorites and following what happens in interesting channels can be confusing.
Favorites follows a similar model to that used in Outlook. When you mark a team as a favorites, Teams moves that team to the top of the list of teams shown in the client, just like Outlook moves favorite folders to the top of its folder list. Other, non-favorite teams, are found further down the list. The user can drag and drop favorite teams to organize them into their preferred order.
Show and Hide
In the new approach, you’ll be able to use the Show option to mark a team to appear in the list of teams visible in the client, and Hide to remove a team from the list. Hidden teams remain accessible to the user, but need to be exposed by clicking a More link. The idea is that the words Show and Hide more accurately represent what the user actually does to mark teams they interact with most often or put other teams that they still want to access (but not as often) into a place that’s easily accessible. Current teams marked as favorites will have the Show flag set while the other teams will have the Hide flag set.
Today, you follow a channel to make its activity appear in your activity feed or unfollow it when you want notifications of what happens in the channel to disappear. It’s a relatively simple on-off model. Microsoft has been asked by customers (including some high-voted User Voice requests) to improve how notifications are handled and that’s what seems to be coming down the tracks as “additional notification preferences” are promised.
It’s likely that Microsoft will allow users some control over the kinds of notifications that they get from a channel. Sometimes team members can make profuse use of @channel and @team mentions to make sure that their opinions are broadcast to all and sundry. It would be nice to be able decide exactly what types of messages you want to see (for instance, don’t show me replies even if an @channel mention is used). We’ll see in due course.
Signs of Maturity
Changes like this are signs that Teams is maturing nicely. Flaws in terminology and structure only appear with use and are confirmed by a large volume of user interactions in multiple diverse organizations. The size of the Teams installed base and its use in 420,000 organizations is enough for Microsoft to have a reasonable spectrum of opinions about how to improve the client. Although I was never confused by the old model, it seems like I was in the minority.
The new code will roll out to Teams clients beginning in March. Microsoft says that roll-out will be complete worldwide by the end of May. I can’t wait!
Change like this drives the authors of books crazy because we have to change text and graphics to reflect the new terminology. When we see the new code show up in Teams, we’ll start the process of reviewing and updating Chapter 13 of the Office 365 for IT Pros eBook. What joy! But it does prove the advantage of the ePublishing model for technical books about cloud topics…