Art of Pinning Channels, part two ”What if”

I wrote about Art of Pinned Channels last week in my blog post. I decided to continue experimenting and gathering some more experience with this feature. This time I focus on ”What if” scenario called ”What if I choose to use to only pinned channels to manage my Teams”?

Let’s start with a more reasonable scenario and a short recap

  • You can pin channels onto the top by choosing the three dots (….) menu at the end of a channel name and choosing ”Pin”.
  • You can arranged pinned channels as you wish
  • Pinning a channel always makes it visible (show)
  • Pinning a channel of a hidden team sometimes puts the team to your teams. Watch out for these.
  • When you have pinned team channel (or more of it’s channels) you can then hide the team if you wish to

This allows you to have a very different look into your Teams. You can opt to focus more on channel context, and not the overall team context. Is it better? Not necessarily, not for most of the people. Can it help if you are a member in a large number of teams? Certainly. This requires some thinking from user perspective: what do I need, how do I want to work with these teams?

Take a look of my demo/personal tenant. The only ”real” teams I actually use there with other people are EuroTeams UG and TeamsFi. The rest is just for demos, presentations and testing. In case you were wondering what the heck all that is 😂

. Assuming this would be a real production environment, you can see why something like this could work

  • The most used channels are always on the top. I can even turn of some notifications on them since I will see them all the time -> if there are new message there, channel names would be bolded. Instead of choking the activity feed I am using a visual notification when I am using Teams. Might work better for some people.
  • I can arrange the channels as I wish to. I don’t have to think about the team – only focusing on what is the purpose of the channel
  • The rest of teams can be visible, but they can easily escape my view. I need notifications on these teams. But the good thing is that there can be less teams visible.

Going to the extreme. The limit is 25.

Of course I had to test the limit of pinned channels. I found it to be 25.

Does it make any sense? To have 25 channels pinned would mean

  • You use only (or mostly) channels to navigate onto your teams since you don’t see the shown teams list without scrolling. What’s on those visible teams cannot be urgent anymore.
  • You miss out all the other activities of those teams. Totally. Do you really want to do that?
  • You have a working habit that needs this. It is not wrong, but this is not something I’d try to aim at.
  • Team icons are even more important than before: these will help you to find out specific channels quickly.
  • When you have hit the cap you need to remove a channel from pinned ones before you can add a new one. Is this really a sustainable way of working?

I had to zoom out my browser to be able to show all pinned channels + that single shown team at the bottom. Not very usable, but of course in real world you’d be scrolling the list down and up instead of zooming out.

Pinning channels allows you to have a different view onto your work and teams if you so choose to. This is not for everyone, but this might be a focusing lens for some.

Usually it is just better to focus on pinning those few (max 10 I’d say) channels on top that will help you clean up your shown team list or allows you to move some teams ”down” on the shown list. Make use of the ability to arrange pinned channels and shown teams to your needs and working practices.

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