by Phillip Garding, Senior Program Manager, Lync Team

One of the things we announced at Lync Conference was our first update for the Lync Windows Store app. We spent the last few months talking to customers and reading your Store reviews. We heard lots of feedback on what you liked and what you didn’t. We think you will find the updated Lync app easier to use and more reliable as well as offering some cool new features. Let’s take a look at what’s new!

Sign-in

There is no question that the number one problem people had was around sign-in. We heard the feedback soon after the app was released, and we approached the problem in three ways. The first and quickest was to help Lync administrators make sure their servers were ready for Lync Windows Store app to connect. We improved our server documentation and released the Lync Connectivity Analyzer tool to help administrators test their server readiness. The second way was to improve error messages and reliability in the app. Finally, we worked with the Windows team to roll out a change in the February update to Windows 8 to fix a certificate issue that blocked a lot of organizations from signing in.

If you had problems signing in before, try it again with the updated Lync app!

Faster Search

Searching for contacts is an integral part of communicating through Lync, so we wanted to make it easier. We added a Search button directly on the Home and Contacts screen so you can get started with one tap. Of course, you can still swipe from the side of the screen to get the Windows search charm.

 

Easier Navigation, Mute, and End Call

We heard from a lot of users that it was too hard to do some common things like moving between screens and getting to Mute and End Call buttons in a call or meeting. We rethought our navigation controls and put a Back button on every screen. We also simplified the upper app bar and made it easier to tell which of your IM conversations have new messages. In calls and meetings, we added buttons directly on the screen so you can mute yourself and hang up quickly with a single tap.

Ink in IM Conversations

Lync Windows Store app is optimized for touch, so it only makes sense that you can send and receive ink in your IM conversations. With the new ink input panel, you can write freehand or draw a color picture. When you send an ink message, it can be seen by other Lync desktop and Lync Windows Store app users. IM isn’t just for typing anymore!

Copy/paste and keyboard support in dialpad

Because Lync is the only work phone for many users, we wanted to improve the experience for dialing phone numbers and making calls. In addition to touch support for dialing, you can now copy a phone number and paste it into the dialpad. For those using Lync with a keyboard, you can also type a phone number instead of tapping or clicking the digits.

 

So much more!

There are too many improvements in the new update to list them all, but here are a few other things worth noting:

  • Missed conversation notifications on the Windows start screen
  • Improved high-definition picture support
  • Accessibility support for full screen video and sharing
  • Performance improvements on Surface RT
  • Stabilization across the board and bug fixes throughout the app

We know that you will love the updated Lync Windows Store app, but we suspect that it might not be quite perfect yet. We promise to keep working on it if you promise to leave us feedback and give us a new or updated rating in the Windows Store. 

Have fun using Lync!