The Little Things: Teams vs. iMessage

Both Microsoft Teams and Apple’s iMessage offer the ability to ‘react’ or ‘tap back’ on a message – for those who don’t know, this allows you to mark a message with a quick emoji response instead of sending a full message back.

I’m a heavy user of both apps: Teams while I’m working, and iMessage for keeping in touch with friends and family.

Despite Teams being targeted at business – I find the iMessage implementation so much more well through-through and appropriate.

While they both have a thumbs up – check 👍 – the heart in Teams feels a bit too much like a ‘romantic heart’ and unless Microsoft are condoning workplace romances – probably best avoided lest you end up in trouble with HR – I can’t see what they were thinking here. On the other hand, iMessage manages to remain neutral – a small platonic heart that doesn’t throb is much more appropriate for work.

Teams also lacks a simple thumbs down, a way to convey the word ‘no’. Unbelievably, it instead opts for crying emoji, or even worse – a red-faced anger emoji. There aren’t many times I feel like crying in response to a co-worker’s message, or get so angry I turn red – but often I could use a simple thumbs down. The biggest omission from Team however is the humble question mark. Being able to simply question what someone said – that is ask them to expand on what they meant and clarify – is something that often needs to be communicated with colleagues.

All of this is to say that really spending the time to think through little details like this can make all the difference in how useful the feature is. Apple clearly thought more about it in my view. On this feature at least, Teams gets a big 😢 from me.

Footnote: None of these animated icons are technically emoji – but you know what I mean.

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