Prior to CS3216, I’ve never heard of this app called Slack. So when i heard people talking about Slack, I assumed that it is an app meant for coders to discuss and talk about work. I carried that assumption along with me as the presentation began, and truth be told, it was a little confusing. But I’m gonna attribute the confusion to having a misconception early on.
What Slack is essentially is a team communication and integration tool. It has real time messaging, and it syncs automatically with different platforms.
Articles online have been singing its praises, and some have even touted it as the next big thing to replace email. In the fast paced society today, instant messaging does seem to have its edge over the traditional email and its not difficult to see why most people prefer it over sending emails.
In the presentation, the group suggested voice messaging as a way to improve the app. That suggestion drew a lot of feedback, almost entirely negative. While I feel that it is not a major feature that they lack. However I guess it is still useful to include multiple methods of achieving communication, should there be any specific situations where typing might be a problem, or if using voice messaging is simply the better option. (like in the case where Chinese users find it difficult to type in chinese)
‘Details make the design
One thing I noticed about Slack is how we can determine the sort of notifications we receive, by setting certain words as the ‘trigger’. This feature sounds really useful, especially when group chats contain many participants and certain messages are not important for everyone. It also means that users in a huge group project wouldn’t be subjected to checking notifications that do not relate to them at all, and this saves a lot of time.
Initially, I felt that its a pity they didn’t have a calendar or a system to show everyone’s tasks on hand. For an app who’s main users are project collaborators, it felt like there should be some way for users to see what the workload of their peers. However, it also makes sense that Slack should just focus on communication, instead of branching out to task allocation etc.
Here’s an article I stumbled upon over the week. It talks about how and why designers should be left to design, and how designers and coders should learn to understand each others’ way of working. I found this article really useful as it does highlight the differences between both fields. I hope this goes out to all those who found it difficult to work with each other.