Microsoft Gives Office 365 Admin App a UX Refresh

The updated app features a streamlined interface that scales to fit a variety of screens. Meanwhile, new controls allow administrators to better manage Office Groups in large enterprises.

Office 365

Microsoft has updated its Office 365 Admin app for Android and Windows Phone, the company announced June 14. Apple iOS users will receive the update within the next two weeks.

The focus this time around, according to Anne Michels, senior product marketing manager for Microsoft Office 365 Marketing, was on helping users navigate the app faster and providing a user experience (UX) that is more consistent with other Office 365 administration interfaces.

"The admin app has a very clean and simple interface that makes it easy to use on a variety of screen sizes," blogged Michels. "And with the new update (for those of you who pay attention to version numbers, it's V3), we are further improving and modernizing the design and UX of the app."

The updated app now groups commonly used actions, like password resets and assigning licenses, to the user card. New quick links to user, billing and group settings in the dashboard offer one-tap access to those functions.

Within settings screens, the app will more conspicuously call attention to items that merit an administrator's attention. For example, users whose access has been revoked are highlighted using a hard-to-miss red "Blocked" label.

Finally, taking design cues from the Office 365 Admin Center, the app sports the same color and icons as the browser-based tool. Aligning both versions helps provide a more seamless transition for users moving between the mobile app and the browser-based tool, said Michels.

Also this week, Microsoft announced the release of new Office 365 Groups administration features, including the ability to better manage groups in enterprises that use more than one email domain.

"Larger organizations use separate email domains to reflect different parts of their businesses," explained Christophe Fiessinger, a senior product manager at Microsoft Office 365 Marketing, in a separate blog post. "Office 365 groups that are created by users in one domain will share that domain (as opposed to using a common domain across the tenant). Administrators now also have control to create groups in specific domains of their choosing."

Office 365 Groups functionality has been enabled for users with on-premises Exchange mailboxes in hybrid setups, added Fiessinger. Administrators can also enable a new "Send As" option for users, allowing them to send and reply to emails to an entire group.

New privacy settings allow a group owner to set a group's status to public or private in the Outlook Web client. Administrators can change the setting on their end by using Set-UnifiedGroup cmdlets in PowerShell.

In addition, Microsoft is rolling out a handful of capabilities, including new group creation restrictions. Administrators can institute a policy Azure Active Directory to place limits on who is allowed to create a group. A new data classification (corporate confidential, top secret, etc.) system and the addition of Outlook Groups to the Microsoft Intune device and application management platform are also slated to arrive before the end of July, Fiessinger said.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...