Microsoft Teams: 2023 Wish List

There's a lot we like about Microsoft Teams, but there are a few things we'd like to see tightened up before we go all-in with Microsoft's take on Slack.

My team and I have been kicking the tires on Microsoft Teams and, while there's a lot we like, there are a few things we'd like to see tightened up before we go all-in with Microsoft's take on Slack.

We currently use a teams chat app called which prioritizes asynchronous written communication, which suits us well. But Twist hasn't been meaningfully updated in a couple of years and is lagging in features and performance. Thus we're on the hunt for something better.

Meanwhile, we like how Teams differentiates itself from Slack, mainly by supporting true threaded conversations with proper subjects and an immersive conversation view. For teams that prefer asynchronous communication, this allows teammates to dip in and out of conversations over time with ease.

So Teams is a serious contender for us. But we'd like to see Teams improve on three areas, mostly which will improve the messaging experience for teams that, like us, prefer asynchronous communication, without compromising the experience for teams that prefer more real-time messaging.

With that, here's our 2023 wish list for Microsoft Teams.

Improve Notification Previews in Activity View

Teams is in the process of rolling out a new channels experience that will be a big improvement for teams that prefer asynchronous communication by placing increased emphasis on giving all newly created threads a proper thread subject.

While Teams always supported subjects, they were more of an afterthought. Now, starting a new channel post immediately puts the cursor in a subject text entry field.

The cursor starts in the subject field. Just enter a subject and then tab to the main post.

Thread subjects are a great way to keep threads organized and aid in future discoverability. But, over in the Activity view, where users get notifications about new threads, there's no support for subjects.

A quick tweak to make thread subjects more prominent in Activity view will help users quickly decide which threads need their attention most and understand what thread they are about to open before clicking on the notification.

In the above example, by replacing the current notification header "David replied" with the thread subject, a reader would have a more accurate sense of what the thread is about before clicking into it.

Teams could also prepend the preview text with something like "David:" to maintain the indication of who replied.

Support Inbox Zero and Keyboard Shortcuts in Activity View

Currently, the only way users can remind themselves to respond to a thread later is to mark the thread notification as Unread in Activity view.

This is a fairly out-dated way of handling notifications. Most office workers rely on some degree of Inbox Zero these days, whether they realize it not. Both Outlook and Gmail encourage archiving emails after they have been triaged.

But the only two states that a notification can be in Activity view is Read or Unread.

I'd like to see Teams support notification archiving in Activity view for users who want to practice Inbox Zero. For users who would like to keep the current system, no changes would be needed.

To do this, Teams should simply add a third notification state: Archive. And to make it quick and simple for users to triage their Activity view, Teams should support common keyboard shortcuts for triaging notifications:

  • E to Archive
  • R to Reply
  • U to toggle Read/Unread
  • J/K (or up/down) to move up and down Activity view

Finally, if Teams wanted to make Activity view go to 11 there should be a way to snooze notifications to a later time and date. Sometimes I get a notification for a thread that I can't respond to for a few days (or even weeks). Being able to snooze the notification to a better time would help me keep my Activity view clean while nudging me about threads that will need my attention in the future.

Option to Collapse Threads in Channel View

I love that Teams is now encouraging the use of thread subjects. But, with more use of subjects, Teams could make it easier for users to scroll up and down the channel view to scan threads.

Currently Teams does semi-collapse long threads but, even on my 27" monitor, I can usually only see two current threads at a time.

Simply giving users the option to collapse threads by default into a list view that displays a thread subject and a quick thread preview, would make it easier to scroll through a channel by active threads.

This would also help prevent team members from starting duplicate threads by performing a cursory channel check to see if a like-thread already exists.

Bonus: Quick-Add in iOS

Let me save you a tap.

To start a new thread on iOS users must first navigate to the Teams tab, then the appropriate channel then click new post.

Three taps for what could be one.

I'd like to see Teams add a quick-add button for new threads to the Teams tab (and maybe also the Activity tab). Click the button and the cursor will take you to a field to enter the desired channel, and display a list of available channels below the text entry field.

Teams already has a quick-add button in the Chat tab, and I'd like to see this functionality to the Teams tab as well.

As you can see, most of these tweaks are related to how users manage and triage threads. I'm sure many users are content with how things are, and I don't want to change their workflows.

But, for those of us that lean into asynchronous communications with our teammates, as well as those who practice some form of Inbox Zero, I believe these optional tweaks would be a welcome improvement.

What improvements would you like to see in Teams? If so, let me know in the comments below or on Twitter @danielkuney.