Only Microsoft Could Make Teams

Pramit Nairi, comparing Microsoft Teams to Slack:

The thing with Slack is that using it doesn’t feel like work. The UI and the experience is designed to be as effortless as possible with everything feeling natural and human. From subtle things to the more overt, the service feels likable and encourages interaction and participation. Sure, it has its shortcomings — what software doesn’t? — but at the heart of it, it is truly reimagining how things get done. It keeps the computer-y aspect behind the curtain and, consciously I’m sure, delivers an experience that feels almost magical.

Long ago I wrote about how bad user experiences feel like fighting your way uphill and good ones feel like you’re coasting downhill. An uphill UI feels like you’re fighting against the app; a downhill UI makes it feel like the app is helping you along. I spent an hour or so kicking the tires with Microsoft Teams, both on the Mac and iOS, and it’s definitely a fighting your way uphill feeling.

I have many complaints about Slack, but 95 percent of them are about the lack of a native client and truly native UI for Mac. If I brush those concerns aside — and I acknowledge that most people don’t feel nearly as opinionated as I do about native Mac apps — and just accept that Slack is a web app running in a web view, I would describe it as delightful. Slack is a “going downhill” experience.

Slack looks and feels like an app that was made by people with taste — albeit very different taste than mine. My taste is for native UIs. Slack’s taste is for web UIs. Microsoft Teams looks and feels like it was made by people with no taste.

Nairi, on Teams:

It’s certainly not user-centric and definitely not user-friendly. It has no heart and will not elicit love back in return. It truly is the PC and Windows in response to the Mac and MacOS. It is 100% Microsoft and is something only they can create. While there are many things Microsoft has done right and arguably functionally superior, creating software that makes people feel good when used is certainly not one of them.

This is my impression as well.

Monday, 7 November 2016