Teams Rolls Out New Conversation Button

An Improvement to the Teams Client User Interface

People have been complaining about how easy the Teams client user interface (desktop and browser) makes it to create new topics instead of posting replies to existing conversations. Signs that something might be happening to improve matters came in a tweet last month from the Teams development VP, covered in another article.

Fast forward to today, and news from Microsoft is that “the journey to reducing dangling replies” which started in early 2018 is reaching an important point with the roll-out of a New conversation button to all tenants. The roll-out has already started and should be complete worldwide by the end of next week.

Introducing the Conversation Button

Figure 1 shows the difference. At the top, you can see a topic with the new button in full view. It’s much more obvious how to start a new topic as opposed to a reply to the last topic. The bottom screenshot shows the old interface. You can argue that it’s still obvious how to “start a new conversation,” but the evidence is that many people mixed up replies and new topics when they responded to a conversation, leading to the infamous dangling replies (not connected to a topic), and a chaotic list of posts that made it harder for Teams users to find the information they want.

The New conversation button shows up in the Teams user interface
Figure 1: The New conversation button shows up in the Teams user interface

Important for Compliance Too!

Apart from the aesthetic irritation caused by dangling replies, it’s important from a compliance perspective that the replies to topics are linked together as this makes it much easier to reconstruct conversations. Investigators can reassemble conversations from individual messages but it’s much harder when messages do not share the same thread identifier and are therefore not linked. Microsoft tools like advanced eDiscovery present complete conversations by using the thread identifier, which can’t happen for dangling replies.

Ending Dangling Replies

Of course, users won’t care about the plight of compliance managers and investigators. Nor should they. Software interfaces should be clear and intelligent enough to help people take maximum advantage of applications, and Teams failed in this respect. Hopefully, the new button will lead to more coherence, less chaos, and few dangling replies.

You might not think that the team writing a book like Office 365 for IT Pros would be interested in a tweak to a client user interface. The compliance issue explained above is why we think this is important. You’ve got to think about things from multiple angles!

26 Replies to “Teams Rolls Out New Conversation Button”

  1. Even with old interface both old thread and new message window are visually separated at least. In Slack it is all in one flow and you have to hover a 3 dot button and then select a chat box icon to reply (i always press Share button instead as it has an arrow, which to me looks like a reply).

  2. I welcome the change, but it’ll still be garbage if new replies to old conversations move to the bottom of the thread. There needs to be a way to keep conversations in chronological order.

  3. I’ve been a part of my firms Teams pilot group and having used this application for the better part of a year, I still can’t seem to love it. It has its usefulness but the thing that continually irritates me is that feed entries and conversations can’t “go away”. I was always brought up on having a clean inbox, a clean task list, a clean office, etc. Teams stuff just lingers there and it’s cluttered. It doesn’t feel tidy to me. I don’t care if the admins need to save conversation data, that’s fine. At least give us a button that allows us to clear or archive the feed list and/or conversation(s) so I can see an empty Teams window.

  4. Hi
    If the chat can be saved in outlook, it will best as the same was available in Skype. Also download of recorded meeting can be possible to all

  5. It’s bloody annoying. And MS clearly thought everyone NEEDED it, rather than giving people a choice to turn it Off/On

    1. You got my vote there. I only got here in search of a way to disable it… but man… the disappointment 🙁

    2. Exactly so, I’ve said it a thousand time, Microsoft Clippy never went away, he became head of Microsoft R&D.

  6. Whatever it is, I am still inconvenience with bluetooth headset compatibility. Please microsoft to include Audio Technica as a compatible device.

  7. How do you turn this feature off? Having to do an extra click every time I want to talk in my Teams chat is super annoying!

  8. Teams “new conversation” button is a terrible addition. What a waste of time and in a group conversation isn’t necessarily replying to the correct person.

  9. I Agree. This an excellent change. It will help explain how to differentiate between participating in an existing conversation and starting a new one during user training and adoption. Great Blog! MM

    1. This isn’t a Microsoft site. It’s independent commentary about Microsoft technology. Protest your case on Teams User Voice please!

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