Where’s “Shared With Me” Gone ?

By Stuart Box

Microsoft Power BI in Practice

Are you working on Power BI and asking the same question ? Has your “Shared with me” folder in Power BI Service gone walkabout, or are you missing your “Favourites” star ? Has the side menu in Power BI service changed for you or your colleagues but not for everyone? If so, I have the explanation and can also tell you how to set things back to as they were so that everyone sees the same things again.

Shared with me takes a walk

A couple of days ago I noticed my “Shared with me” folder in Power BI had moved. The left menu had been consolidated and now had a “Browse” sub-menu that had “Favourites” and “Shared With me” in it.

“OK” I thought, Microsoft has made a change, I’d better get used to it. But then I noticed that other users in my group did not see these changes, some even saw a different side menu!

But everyone sees it differently

User “Athena” saw “Shared with me” in the old place, but her “Favourites” menu was missing…

User “Bacchus” saw a different menu again, much more in the old style …

What was going on ?

What was different about these three users that they should see such different user interfaces? This mattered to me because I’m a Trainer. When I show my screen on an online session I want everyone to be able to find things in the same place I do. When I train on Power BI I want “Shared with me” to be in one place for everyone, not “well some of you may find it here, and some there and some possibly elsewhere” and have to play hunt-the-slipper to simply find an important folder in Power BI.

So I went to the Power BI community forums on Power BI, I hang out there a lot, it’s a really useful place to get answers on any aspect of Power BI. Firstly I saw a number of people asking the same question, but some confusion about the answers, others did not have the problem and thought it might be a bug.

Then one of the Microsoft support staff gave the answer

The user account that sees “Browse” was randomly selected as part of an experiment evaluating a potential change to the UI. If the customer would like to opt-out of experiments they can do so by disabling experimentation.

see User experience experiments admin settings – Power BI | Microsoft Docs

When this feature is enabled, users in the organization will get minor user experience variations, including content, layout, and design, that the Power BI team is experimenting with before they go live for all users.

Switch it back

So that’s it, Microsoft have added this “New Experience Experiment” switch! So if you have Admin access, or know your friendly Power BI Administrator you can get this switch changed to “Disabled” and everyone will see the same standard UI in your tenant.

But then, hang on, this switch is enabled by default! So everyone gets these “experience experiments” whether they want them or not. Surely if these are truly “Experiments” it would be better to allow users to opt in, rather than have to opt out. From a support angle, you want all users to see the same thing, most users react badly to user interface changes. Certainly, new users, having just learnt the location of “Shared with me” in the user interface feel unsettled when it starts to move around.

Make Disabled the Default

So I created an “Idea” in the Power BI Ideas  forum here: Set User experience experiments to be Disabled by … – Microsoft Power BI Community Go and give it a “like” if you agree and we’ll see whether Microsoft can set this one right.

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