Slack is an amazing product to use because their creators have put a lot of thought into their product. They have nailed down the experience on flows/things which people used to take for granted in enterprise software.
- A simple @ tagging action by a user leads to different prompts depending on whether you are on a public channel, private channel or a DM.
They realised early on that in a workplace you might tag a person for different reasons:
- discuss about a person in DM without informing or adding that person.
- adding them to the convo without adding them to a channel if it is a one time discussion.
- tag them for the explicit purpose of adding them to a channel while giving them context (ala gmail. Not sure if gmail got it first or Slack).
- Like people have different display name (can be changed multiple times to reflect mood/views) vs user name (not changeable) on Twitter, Slack allows you the same flexibility in workplace. In my company people change their display names instead of changing statuses to inform people if they are on leave/working from home/working in a different office. You can argue that the same thing can be achieved by putting a custom status. But custom status is only shown if you visit a person’s profile. By letting people change their display names, you save one click.
- A dedicated Threads section is an amazing way to catch up on things (most important to you) which happened since you last checked your Slack. If you have more time you can read ‘All Unread’. This behavior is similar to how you would check Priority inbox on mail vs checking other inboxes (Social, Promotion etc) when you have more time. I think my use of Slack is a reflection of how I use mail and I see similar behavior in my colleagues. They have made even completing reading Slack messages an achievement. Compare inbox 0 on gmail vs Slack’s 0 unread.
Even custom emojis which might seem like a useless thing can add character to your workplace and is another example of Slack taking Design for Emotion seriously. We have custom emojis for everything!
It is the little things which make Slack stand out in a crowded space. We should learn from that.