The UI Trap in Microsoft Teams

I have moved orgs and no longer live in Microsoft’s Slack competitor, Teams. So before I forget the frustration, I wanted to write up the severe, crippling flaw in Teams’ UI.

Here’s a screenshot. Note the leftmost sidebar: a “chat” tab, and then a separate “teams” tab:

Ignore the un-compacted chat layout. After a few months, you get used to it 🤷

“Teams” is the chatroom function, whereas “chat” are where your DMs are. If you’re in one tab, there’s not a great way to see what’s happening in the other. You have the “Activity” section too, but that’s another area that swaps you out of chat entirely, so it doesn’t really help.

This causes a huge problem — people live in the Chat tab, or they live in the Teams tab. Over time, the fact that people only wanted to live in one meant they’d stay in the most flexible tab: chat.

This degraded the entire product for me. I tried really hard to get people to use Teams so folks could follow the discussions they were interested in. In one group, I was successful — but everyone else ended up DMing me or setting up small group chats.

The DMs hurt information availability, since you need to be invited to a group chat, and the search functionality in DMs isn’t as good as in the team chat rooms.