Today we are introducing a set of new user experiences in Office 365 on the web that provide quick access to notifications, help and what’s new feature introductions, contextual and immersive settings and the integration of Skype for Business conversations – all within the context of your work. These new features will be available across Office 365 web applications via a set of persistent icons in the top right of the navigation bar.
Let’s take a quick look at what’s new:
Quick access to notifications
A new notifications pane displays real-time updates on your system alerts, personal reminders and communications, including new mails and group likes. You can access the notifications pane via the persistent notification bell icon. The notification bell will display the corresponding number of available notifications.
Updated Help pane and “What’s new” feature introductions
The new Help pane delivers quick access to help content via a search box, as well as What’s new feature introductions related to the application you are currently working in. Features included in What’s new include links to additional information, quick actions like “create group” and in some cases a call out on the application canvas about the new feature being introduced. The help pane question mark icon will show a snowflake alert to call attention to new features in a non-intrusive way.
The Help pane will also include an organization support card for admins to set the support contact information for their organization including email, phone number and website. The organization support card, once enabled from the company profile tab of the admin portal, appears at the bottom of the Help pane for all users within your organization.
Integration of Skype for Business conversations
Conversations and real-time access to colleagues across locations, time zones, or even just down the hall have become commonplace for many of us. You will now have the option to start an instant message, voice and/ or video conversation with one or several of your colleagues right from the productivity of your inbox, OneDrive for Business or calendar application. Conversations will provide you with real time, direct access to the information you need directly from your colleagues and persist across applications.
Contextual and immersive settings
Finally, a new Settings pane provides direct access to contextual settings for the application you are working in, and quick access to the full Office 365 settings experience. In this way, you can personalize and customize your work environment without having to leave what you’re working on. Quick updates to your notifications settings, your password or your automatic replies are only a few clicks away.
These new features deliver a more consistent, personalized, and productive experience within Office 365 on the web—enabling you and your team to achieve more with the Office 365 web experience.
The features will begin rolling out to those in the First Release program over the next few weeks, and we expect them to be rolled out to all Office 365 business customers over the next several months. Let us know what you think and if you have any questions post in the comments below.
—Nick Robinson, senior product marketing manager, Office 365 team