Microsoft Toasts Lync

I love Microsoft's terminology. Around 2000, Microsoft decided that a printer was no longer a device that spewed paper - that was a printing device, instead a printer became the logical software on your system to enable communication with the printing device (hence the Create Printer Wizard).

In Lync, Microsoft has a term called the toast. A toast is no longer a piece of bread heated up until crispy under a grill. In fact a toast in Lync 2010 is a visual notification that pops up near your desktop's systray (i.e. the thing on the bottom right with the clock and date in it). The toast's function, is to let a user know;

1. that someone has requested to call or chat with them

2. to give as much information about the type of call and about the person trying to call and

3. to provide you with a set of actions to deal with the incoming caller.

The toast is split into two sections:

The Contextual Information Region, which provides call information and the Actions Region which provides a set of actions to tell Lync what you would like to do with the call.

The Contextual Information Region

The Contextual Information Region is itself split into three components.

The first component is the Caller Identity region. Depending on the version of Lync and what the user has set, the Caller Identity region might contain information such as the name of the person calling, the company where that person works, and the job title of the caller. In the example screenshot below, we can see two toasts, one from Ross Bowron and the other from Claire Boyle.

The second component is the Conversation Topic region which might contain information such as the subject of the call, the first line of an instant message or the caller's phone number. In our examples, the conversation information from Ross is "Office 365 Project".

Finally, there is the third component, the Invitation Modality which contains the communication type you are being requested to join in on - i.e. instant messaging (IM), File transfer, Voice, Video or conference call. In our example, the invitation modality for Ross Bowron is an IM and the one from Claire Boyle is a normal call. Note that in Lync online, both the Lync to Lync and telephone to Lync calls look exactly the same.

Actions Region

The final component of the toast is the Actions Region which defines what to do with the incoming communication. These actions vary depending on the type of call. In our example, the actions for Ross Bowron's IM request are to Redirect or to Ignore and for Claire Boyle's telephone or Lync call to Redirect or Decline.

In summary, the toast is a useful Lync component that provides a visual cue that there is an incoming call, what the call is about and the actions to take when responding to the call. Should you have sound turned on and enabled on your system, you will also hear an audio cue which is a "pip" sound to let you know about Lync communication.

Other Lync articles in this series, that you may like to read:-

Lync Accessibility Support

Lync 2010 Virtualised Testing

How to make Lync directive and consultative transfer calls

How to federate Office 365 Lync with Lync On-Premise