Revisiting My People in Redstone 3 Build 16170

Posted on April 10, 2017 by Rafael Rivera in Windows 10 with 11 Comments

On Friday, I enabled the My People experience in Windows 10 Redstone 3 (build 16170) and shared a few early screenshots. At the time, the feature wasn’t working quite right and I wrote it off as unfinished. But I revisited the feature over the weekend, corrected a glitch, and resolved the instability. Surprise: It works.

So, let’s pick up where we left off.

Finding contacts to pin to the taskbar is easy. You choose from the list of frequent contacts or manually locate a contact yourself. (I used test accounts configured with Paul as my only contact, hence the overly stark appearance.) In both cases, clicking the contact automatically pins it to the taskbar and opens the contact’s flyout.

Confusingly, the contact flyout opens up to a Profile view, the first time through. This view – like the others – isn’t technically part of My People. Instead, it’s projected from and owned by the People app.

The Switch apps button – alternating arrows at the top left – takes you to a hub with app tiles corresponding to the various ways you can interact with that contact.

Clicking the Mail tile, for example, creates a new draft and drops you right into the email composition interface.

And clicking Skype lets you chat with that person immediately.

Clicking the Back button – large single arrow at top left – navigates backward. What that means is a bit hard to pin down, as it can vary wildly between app views. In Mail, for example, it drops you into a list of drafts. (Clicking Back again here does nothing.) Doing so from Skype or Profile take you back to the hub of app tiles. (Obviously, we’ll be seeing some future polish work in this area.)

Lastly, the More options (…) menu has a set of additional actions (and not actual options) you can perform: Launch [app], Pin/Unpin from Taskbar, and Edit Contact.

But sharing content makes more sense when you start with the content. Apps that implement the Share contract, like Microsoft Edge and Photos, have a Share button that opens a picker with your pinned contacts prioritized at the top.

Clicking a contact via the Share picker automatically launches Mail, presumably the only app that’s wired up properly in this preview build of Windows. (In the future, I suspect we’ll need to choose which app we want to handle our share request.)

Dragging images and files onto pinned contacts works too.

My People is pretty solid for being a deliberately disabled feature in a very early build of Windows. But it’s easy to see why this feature didn’t ship in Creators Update. It can be very confusing to use and seems to be misaligned with how people actually use Windows.

For example, contact flyouts have no Minimize button. You can move the window around, dock it to the sides of the screen, and even peek behind them. But you can’t minimize them. Instead, you must close the window and revisit the contact when needed. (There are no blinking squares or cute animated emoji notifications to let you know when something has happened.)

And ugh, that Back button. I felt like a rat trapped in a maze of dead-ends.

That aside, I’m still excited about the feature and look forward to giving it spin on my main machine. I’m sure as Redstone 3 work continues over the next few months, we’ll see the feature improve. I’ll keep you updated on how that goes.

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