The contact list is one of the most beloved features in Lync. In every release, the goal is to improve and optimize its user experience to meet user needs. In this post, I will cover the most notable enhancements made to the contact list in Lync 2013 and also provide some insights on why these changes were made.
One of the first things you’ll notice in Lync 2013 is the new group “Favorites”. For those of you who use Lync 2010, you might be wondering what happened to “Frequent Contacts”. Well, “Frequent Contacts” group has been renamed to “Favorites”. The “Favorites” group behaves exactly the same as “Frequent Contacts” in Lync 2010. Contacts that you have manually added to the group appear at the top of the group, and auto suggested contacts appear at the bottom. User added vs auto-suggested contacts are separated by a line as illustrated below.
The primary reason for renaming “Frequent Contacts” group is to align Lync’s Favorite contacts (formerly referred to as contacts pinned to the “Frequent Contacts” group) with Outlook’s. If you have an Exchange 2013 mailbox AND the server has Exchange Web Services (EWS) enabled AND the unified contacts setting is enabled on the Lync server, then Favorite contacts in Lync and Outlook are synchronized so they can be accessed in both clients. The auto-suggested frequent contacts is a Lync only feature so the team felt that “Favorites” is a better name for the group if we’re only going to show you contacts you’ve explicitly added to the group. Outlook “Favorites” can be found in the People peek which appears by hovering your mouse cursor over the People module label. By keeping Favorites synchronized between Lync and Outlook, you can quickly access and initiate conversations with the people you care about.
Quick Lync menu
The interaction model for initiating conversations has changed quite a bit from Lync 2010. Double clicking on a contact in search or the contact list still opens an instant message or call depending on the contact type. But if you’re looking for the non-default modality or more information about a contact, then you should check out the quick Lync menu. The quick Lync menu is opened when you hover over the photo or presence icon in search results, contact list, conversation environment and voicemails.
The primary advantage of the quick Lync menu is the items in the menu are contextual. For example, the quick Lync menu for a contact in the contact list has entry points to start IM, audio call, video call and open the contact card. In contrast, the quick Lync menu opened from voicemails in the phone environment provide entry points to play the voicemail, call back and open card. The quick Lync menu is designed to put most frequently used actions at your fingertips.
When Lync 2010 starts up, you may recall being prompted that someone has added you to their contact list. Many people didn’t like getting numerous prompts when more than one person adds them to their contact list. To improve the Lync start up experience, the prompt has been removed and replaced by the “new” pivot in the contact list. When someone adds you to their contact list, you’ll get a notification on the contact list button as illustrated in the screenshot below.
Clicking on the contacts button switches the view to the “new” pivot in the contact list and shows the contact who added you to his contact list.
From here, you can use to the quick Lync menu to send an IM, add the contact to your list, clear the request, or look up contact information.
If multiple people have added you to their list, you will see the consolidated list of contacts under the “new” pivot. You will no longer get multiple prompts alerting that someone has added you to the contact list.
Contact list options
The ways to customize your contact list hasn’t changed since Lync 2010, but the options themselves have been moved to a new location. The goal for finding a new home for the contact list options is to improve their discoverability.
Display options (such as switching between one line and two line views and sort options) that use to be in the contact list menu located below the search box are now in the options dialog -> contacts list tab.
The contact list menu has been repurposed for contact management operations.
I hope you enjoy the new Lync contact list user experience, and let me know if there’s anything that will make your experience even better!
Senior Program Manager, Lync Client Team