A New Way to View What Needs to be Done
Microsoft 365 message center notification MC248428 published on April 3 announces a new calendar view for OWA. The board view, which is now rolling out to tenants, is “an expanded view where users can manage workloads like calendar, tasks, goals, flagged emails, and files.” According to roadmap item 70746, “people can organize and manage their time, beyond the hour to hour time slots in a redesigned free-flow view of the things that are important.”
The Moca Variation
This all sounds wonderful until you realize that the new view is a variation on Project Moca (aka Outlook spaces), a “new productivity module” launched in preview in October 2020. I have both Project Moca and the new board view available in OWA and it’s hard to tell the two apart. Both feature a rearrangeable board where users can position and resize items of interest, including notes, to-do items, people cards, goals (all-day calendar events), documents, collections (Moca used to call these buckets but now uses the same term), and weather items. The idea is that you can assemble different pieces of information and keep them together in an accessible space. It’s a reasonable idea.
The big difference between a Moca board and the calendar board is that OWA includes the user’s calendar (Figure 1).
Putting Email on the Calendar Board
Another big difference is the lack of a search feature to find information in your mailbox to pin to the board. This is a pity because a lot of information is in email, a fact acknowledged by OWA’s Add to Project Moca option (Figure 2).
I experimented with different ways to add an email to the calendar board including cut and paste of message text into a note and drag and drop. These didn’t work. What did is to create a link item and insert the deeplink shown in the browser bar when a message is selected in OWA. The URI is like:
The same approach works for inserting a deeplink pointing to a Teams message.
The OWA Calendar Board View is a Customized Moca Board
OWA’s new calendar board view is a Moca board customized to highlight the calendar and associated items. Like other Moca boards, the assets (items) for the OWA calendar board are in a folder in the non-IPM part of the user’s mailbox (in my case, the folder is OutlookSpaceAssetsf4ff9062-1465-41f4-80dc-35f63b43b1fa).
Project Moca continues as a separate part of OWA because it allows users to create multiple boards, each dedicated for a different purpose. Whether Moca ever leaves preview to become generally available is a decision Microsoft must make. I haven’t heard of many people using Moca, but this might be simply due to lack of awareness. Perhaps when people use the board view to organize their calendar, they’ll want to create their own boards and can do so through Moca. Time will tell.
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