Improvements to the Private Messaging Experience in Yammer

December 2, 2016

The original article is published on the Microsoft Tech Community Yammer Blog.

This blog post is written by the Yammer Product Marketing Team. 

Beginning January 2017, we will be rolling out a number of improvements to the private messaging experience in Yammer.  These changes will also affect Online Now.

Why have a private messaging experience in Yammer?

While we believe that most work should happen in Yammer Groups, we recognize that there are important interactions that happen privately between coworkers along the way. These could be private messages about other Yammer conversations or independent private messages. These private messages have the same rich Yammer conversation model, with threaded messaging, ability to quickly like/reply to a message, and easily add participants who can see the full context of the message. And private messages can be shared broadly with a group at a later time if appropriate.

Why improve the private messaging experience?

  • Currently, there are two ways to privately message your coworker that are closely related: Private Messages (that can be created from the Inbox) and Online Now (chat). For instance, you can initiate a conversation in the Online Now chat window, which will also appear in your Yammer Inbox as a Private Message, and this adds unnecessary user confusion.
  • As Yammer is fully integrated with Office 365, we plan to improve the Yammer experience with the rich audio, video capabilities of Skype for Business. As we bring Skype and Yammer closer together, we want to avoid having a separate chat interface in Yammer.
  • As we iterate on the private messaging experience in Yammer, we plan to combine the ease of chat (quick creation, top-level access and notifications, etc.) with the functionality of Yammer's group messaging model (full Yammer threads, reply-to capability, Share, etc.).

When will the improvements be released?

The improvements will be rolled out in 3 phases:

  • In phase 1, the new private messaging experience will display in the left navigation bar on the home screen, right below the list of groups. This will be the primary entry point for all private messages and will combine the positive aspects of both Private Messages and Online Now. As part of this redesign, the current Online Now (chat) experience will no longer be available, but you'll be able to quickly message your coworkers using the new experience in the left nav. We expect to release this starting January 2017.
  • In phase 2, we will improve the private message experience further. In addition to some planned improvements, we will learn from the feedback and usage in phase 1. These improvements will release in the second quarter of 2017.
  • In phase 3, Yammer will integrate with the audio/video/chat functionality of Skype for Business. We are closely partnering with the Skype for Business team on this, and will announce timelines Through this integration, we expect to provide a significantly better chat experience (powered by Skype for Business) than is possible today via Online Now.

How will the private message experience be improved in Phase 1?

  • Easier navigation – Private messages can now be readily accessed from the left navigation bar on the home screen, right below the list of groups. Latest private messages will be listed on top. A private message can be created by clicking on the plus (+) button next to the Private Messages header. This makes it easier to create or access your most recent private messages wherever you are in the product. Clicking on the name of the recipient under the Private Messages section will take you directly to the corresponding private message. Also, the Settings gear will move to the top, and include profile information, quick-access menu items and external networks in one place.

Private messages easily accessible in the left navigation bar

Clicking on any message on the left navigation bar will open the message in full viewClicking on any message on the left navigation bar will open the message in full view

Settings/Gear menu is on top of the left navigation barSettings/Gear menu is on top of the left navigation bar

  • Less interruptive notifications – Whenever you get a new private message or a reply, you will see an animation on the left navigation bar. This is less interruptive than a chat window, but still provides you valuable notification. This notification has the same user experience as the one for groups, when the unread counter of a group in the left navigation bar is incremented when a user posts to the group.

Less interruptive notificationsLess interruptive notifications

  • Streamlined messaging experience – Previously you could contact your co-worker using either chat or private message (a private message can be created from the inbox). Several customers who use Skype for Business are confused by the separate presence and chat experience in Yammer. With the improved private messaging experience, there is a single private messaging experience in Yammer, which is consistent with Yammer's group messaging experience and retains the best aspects of chat. For instance, you can quickly create a private message by clicking on the plus (+) icon next to the Private Messages header, choosing a recipient and typing your message – instead of navigating to Inbox first. Also, you will hear the same familiar click sound which was previously in chat whenever there are any updates to your private messages.

Streamlined messaging experience in YammerStreamlined messaging experience in Yammer

Try out the new private messaging experience in Yammer when it becomes available.

Discuss this article in the Microsoft Technical Community.