Microsoft Unveils Lighter, Faster Teams Experience To Tackle Customer ‘Pain’ And ‘Confusion’
Wade Tyler Millward
Most new features for this version of Teams will become available in June, according to Microsoft.
Microsoft will make a new iteration of its collaboration application Teams available “later this year,” promising a Teams desktop app with faster performance, using less memory, offering more emojis and other benefits.
In a blog post Monday, the Redmond, Wash.-based vendor announced Microsoft Teams desktop app for the Windows operating system (OS) is in a public preview for commercial users, with plans to expand public preview to Apple Mac computer “users later this year.”
Microsoft Unveils New Upcoming Teams App
More than 280 million people a month use Teams, according to Microsoft. Teams now boasts more than 100,000 custom, integrated apps, and the Teams store now has more than 1,900 apps available.
New Teams also promises more emojis, including a “together emoji” that shows “a playful animation when two people high-five each other — the first of many more sentiments to come,” according to Microsoft.
Public preview program users have access to the new Teams while other commercial customers need administrators to opt in, according to Microsoft. Users can switch to the previous version any time. The new Teams has no effect on Teams mobile users.
For now, new Teams lacks some of the features in classic Teams, including breakout rooms, third-party apps and searching within chats and channels, according to Microsoft.
New Teams Promises To Solve ‘Pain’ Points, ‘Confusion’
Slower Teams performance “was the most consistent and pervasive customer pain point” with the regular version of the collaboration app, according to Microsoft.
The former design of channels was “a consistent source of customer confusion,” according to Microsoft, with “many of the challenges people faced when using them were rooted in basic UX (user experience) problems.”
Instead of a chat-like model for channels, Microsoft has adopted a post-and-reply experience at the top, among other changes.
Microsoft also promises an easier way to receive notifications, search, manage messages and organize channels. Users can receive notifications on all accounts, not just the one in use. Microsoft also promises enhanced data security and simpler IT management in new Teams.
According to the vendor, it has improved its authentication model, synchronization and notification systems for a better experience for organizations – such as partners – that handle multiple tenants and accounts.
“Instead of logging in and out of different tenants and accounts, you can now stay signed in across them all—receiving notifications no matter which one you are currently using,” according to Microsoft.
The new Teams also will support capabilities powered by artificial intelligence (AI) such as Copilot and intelligent recap.
Microsoft achieved some of these new Teams advancements through standardizing on Fluent UI instead of custom code, leaving AngularJS for React and leaving open source host Electron for WebView2.
A Faster, Lighter Teams App
To improve the Teams experience, Microsoft prioritized switching among different chats, channels and activities, which is among the most frequently occurring user actions in Teams.
Users switch among those elements 10,000 times a month on average, according to Microsoft. Switching in new Teams “will be instant, without having to wait for content to load.”
Microsoft also lowered shimmering and reduced wait times to speed up scrolling in Teams. The previous version only allows ten items to load at a time.
Users also gain the ability to use Loop components within Teams. Loop components include lists, tables and notes users can work on together with constant syncing.
Presenters in Teams will gain the ability to present and view audience members.
Users can install the app up to three times faster, launch it twice as fast, join meetings up to twice as fast, switch chats and channels up to 1.7 times faster and consume up to 70 percent less disk space.
Administrators gain the ability to use Microsoft Intune and other app management tools for deployment and updates. Admins can even install and uninstall certain apps silently, according to Microsoft.
Enhanced security comes from Trusted Types adoption and a more stringent Content Security Policy to protect against cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks on new Teams app users, according to Microsoft.
The vendor lists the following features as available with the new Teams from the jump:
*Meeting start notifications
*Teams and channels
*Multiple work accounts and tenants
*File downloading, uploading and viewing
*Chats and channels file tabs
*Approvals and tasks and other first-party applications
*Microsoft Viva and other M365 apps
The following list of features are due later this year for new Teams:
*Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) support
*Web platforms support
*Education user support
*Government clouds user support
*Reverse number lookup
*Other advanced calling features
*Other advanced meeting features
*Teams and channel creation
*Search within chats and channels
*Line-of-business (LOB) apps