Yammer Launches Inclusive Reactions

First Microsoft 365 App to Offer Varying Skin Tones for Reactions

It’s often the small touches which mean the most. When reactions (like the ability to acknowledge a message with a thumbs-up or other icon) first appeared in Office 365, I wasn’t a big fan. Over time, reactions have grown on me, notably as responses in Teams chats and channel conversations, but I still regard them as a waste of time in email.

Which brings me to reactions in Yammer, or rather, inclusive reactions. Yammer is leading the charge to bring skin tones to Microsoft 365 by enabling a choice for the Like and Thanks reactions (Figure 1).

Yammer reactions
Figure 1: Yammer reactions (image credit: Microsoft)

Skin Tone Option Only in New UI

Yammer support for reactions came in in late 2020, but only for the new Yammer UI. Microsoft communities like the useful Information Protection Team (open to all) don’t support reactions because they have not transitioned to the new interface. In any case, if your organization enables the new Yammer UI, you’ll see prompts when the tenant is updated for diverse reactions. The setting controlling skin tone for reactions is available under Yammer settings (cogwheel – Figure 2). Make your choice, click OK and it’s done.

Choosing a skin tone for Yammer reactions
Figure 2: Choosing a skin tone for Yammer reactions

The Yammer mobile app (version 8.2.0) also supports the selection of skin tone. The option chosen for the browser client synchronizes to the mobile client and vice versa. The available tones work well in either light or dark mode.

More Coming in Microsoft 365?

The idea of encouraging diversity through skin tone choice in applications isn’t new. Slack, for instance, has supported the feature since 2016 and Apple started along the path to diverse icons in 2015. Now that Yammer has introduced the feature in Microsoft 365, I imagine that it won’t be long before Teams picks up this feature and then maybe OWA.

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