I promised a constructive blog, and that's what I plan to provide, but I do need to share what I've seen happen over the last couple of days. Yammer doesn't suck. The inbox definitely pushes buttons on fundamental functionality and that's why it's so important that they get this right.
Unified Inbox is a great idea, but maybe Yammer needs to take Microsoft's example and start a TAP or Customer Advisory program
First let me communicate that I love the idea of a unified inbox. I spend a lot of time with twitter and consuming data in a single interface or console is fundamental. That single interface design is very important. I believe in the design principles and I can see how people would be more engaged… because it causes a lot more clicking. I've already given up on trying to keep my inbox on zero. That's sad.
Let me lay out some ideas that aren't so great.
- Don't make me click on a message to make it read, when I've already read it, and I can read it already… the person said thanks. A big mistake is seeing a bunch of messages in my new inbox and I recognize all of the threads I'm seeing. I already got them in my email box, I saw them in my notifications, and I saw them on the thread. I DON'T need to see them again.
This message will sit perpetually in my unread messages because I can already read it. He said thanks and that's the end of the message or EOM. I really don't want to click on it, just to clear it.
- My personal messages are buried and gone! I consider myself an avid or even average Yammer user. I'm a big fan of the technology, but in my community http://yammer.com/spyam I have been doing some coaching and have seen our community become a place where people let down their barriers. Personal messages are very important since a lot of people change emails often. Yammer is becoming a place where the barriers are lower than facebook, linkedIn and twitter. That's a great thing. Unfortunately the new inbox buried my personal messages by throwing 130 messages at me. I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels upset that they lost… yes lost the threads they were on. I'm not going to page through the dumb messages to get at my personal messages and hope they'll bubble back up to the top, because I can't make them go back on top. *Constructive Feedback* 1) I need to be able to search my inbox, 2) I need to be able to filter by name and date, and 3) I need my private messages separate from these @mentions and threads that are relevant to me. Personally I'd prefer 3 different views on my inbox. Fine to have a unified inbox, but emphasize again I still need my private messages separate from those other categories. Not sure that pinning would even do it for me. In the twitter world it's fine to see the view of all I follow, but it would be disastrous to see my @mentions mixed with direct messages and really overloaded to see those where I participated in a conversation. I feel sorry for anyone trying to do a YamJam since inbox has been rolled out, and also have a private conversation with someone.
Update: I'm seeing a simple search in the new Inbox now. It's a good start, I still can't search for a person and get the conversations from that person. I search for a user and I'm getting 40 messages and I get one simple line, I can't see the message no hit highlighting. I know this is all knew so I'll give you a break, but let's make sure we don't sacrifice private messages in response to getting more messages for those that don't get much involvement or engagement. By the way, I see the icon that tells me whether something is a private message or message type or from a group and so on, but why no grouping other than unread and read… coming?
- The last response in a thread is burred – One thing that baffles me is how a thread will come back into the inbox and it looks familiar since every knew response will kick it back into the inbox and it will look exactly the same each time even though different people are responding to a conversation. Not seeing the response I can't tell if I want to look at the message. I'm forced to click on it and then rather than decide if I want to read the response I'm forced to read it, and then decide if it was bothersome enough to leave the thread permanently. My preference would be to have a visual that allows me to see what's new… like in the notification, and then decide if I want to open it rather than be forced to open it so I can clear the flag.
This poll had 14 responses, but continues to just show the first line.
- Give me the ability to clear the messages as read – People have been trained to want to see what's new and then see it reset as 0 new messages. They like seeing an empty inbox. The new unified inbox is becoming a real challenge. There's a lot of irony in having all these new messages in your "inbox" that replaces the email inbox, that saves you time… but it actually has a lot of duplication. You first see it in your email inbox, click through to login, then see it in notification, then go to the yammer inbox to then see it still hasn't cleared even though you clicked on the notification to see the thread. There's definitely overlap and something seriously not good. I know there's work on making sure the email notifications aren't so chatty by default. That will help… but give me the ability to quickly mark either a message or the entire inbox as read.
Let me wrap it up with… thanks for listening Yammer. I know that's what you guys do best. I'll have to cover SharePoint integration and working with the API next J