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No Way for Users to Eliminate Irritating Teams Pop-ups
It might just be me, but I am very irritated by the number of cutesy, folksy, whatever attempts to be helpful pop-up prompts that the Teams desktop client insists in displaying (Figure 1 shows a selection). I see these pop-ups as a guest in multiple tenants and in my own tenant in both the classic and new Teams clients. The initial delight in being helped (even if I didn’t need or want it) has quite worn off now.
I know that Microsoft is genuinely trying to help users discover aspects of the Teams client UI that they might have overlooked in the past. This is an important thing to do because of the ongoing change in the UI, especially in the last year. However, there’s no way for an administrator to disable helpful pop-ups on a per-user or tenant-wide basis. Even worse, Teams doesn’t have a setting to allow a user to decide when they’ve had enough and can function without seeing any more pop-ups.
I don’t mind developers trying to be helpful. I hate it when they launch something without an Off switch. Teams needs to do better here.
Irritating Teams Pop-ups in the Mobile Client
The Teams mobile client has its own special irritations. Take the pop-up message that the iOS client displays to inform users that their translation settings changed somewhere in Microsoft 365. Teams proclaims that it is smart enough to detect that this event happened and is delighted to be able to respect the change (Figure 2).
The only problem is that this message appears out of the blue. As far as I know, I haven’t gone near a language selection setting in any Microsoft 365 app in the last two or more years. Despite this, the Teams iOS client suspects that I might have selected a new language and is smart enough to tell me so. The irritation of the unnecessary and unhelpful message is compounded when the client sometimes refuses to respect the OK option and sits there doing nothing. The only solution is to stop and restart the client.
Displaying messages that people can make no sense of is a terrible user experience. Requiring users to restart the client to get rid of a message just adds to the overall delight in the experience.
Making the New Teams the Old Teams
On the plus side, some changes in the new Teams address user comments. One being that people don’t like the color scheme chosen by Microsoft, the other is miscontent in the change in the ordering of channel posts. Fortunately, settings exist to allow people to wind the clock back to a time when old colors and post ordering ruled.
First, to use the classic (old) Teams color scheme, go to Settings, Appearance and accessibility, and select the classic theme (Figure 3).
You’ll notice that I’ve kept the old colors and also chosen to use a compact chat density without message previews. This allows the client to display many more chat threads in the available screen estate. Some like it (like me). Others hate the compact layout.
Next, some folks don’t like the new arrangement (introduced for the classic client in June 2023) for channel posts where the latest post appears at the top of the listing and prefer the original Teams layout where new conversations appear at the bottom. A control to switch positions is available for channels (Figure 4).
The nice thing about the setting is that it applies to all channels in all teams in a tenant. If you have guest accounts in other tenants, you’ll have to choose your preferred layout in each tenant.
Always Things to Complain About in Software
Most software is never perfect. All of the Microsoft 365 applications offer plenty of scope to complain about. Building on my theme, the Teams admin center has the infuriating habit of signing me out of all browser sessions when its access token expires. The other Microsoft 365 admin centers handle token refreshes without any problem; it’s just the Teams admin center that signs out without warning. This begs the question why the Teams developers use a different (and inferior) approach to token handling?
I guess the best thing about software imperfections is that I will never lack topics to write about.
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