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Slack Continues UX Improvements

With user experience always top of mind, Slack announced today a series of changes geared at making the Slack app easier to use.
 
Historically, getting the full benefit out of Slack required use of keystroke commands —functionality embraced by power users and largely unknown to others, said Brian Elliott, VP and GM of Slack, during a No Jitter briefing. These enhancements are an attempt to unbury many of these capabilities, making “it easier for anybody to use Slack and get out the power user functionality,” he said.
 
These enhancements focus on improving the user experience, providing more customization options, and allowing users to find tools within Slack more easily, Elliott said. The improvements include:
  • Top-level navigation – A new navigation bar, positioned at the top of the screen, will include forward and back buttons for switching between Slack channels
  • Richer sidebars with sections – Designed to be " containers for managing your attention," customizable sections will now be available for the sidebar, Elliott said. These sections, which groupings of channels, will be movable and collapsible within Slack. The customizable sidebar will only be available for paid users.
  • A new compose button – A dedicated compose button will display just below the navigation bar so users can click to draft messages.
  • A new shortcut button – A lightning bolt button next to the message input field will give a user access to a set of actions, like creating a poll, starting a video meeting, or reporting a customer support issue, inside of Slack. These shortcuts can also be customized by anyone with Slack's Workflow Builder.
Some of these functions, like the compose and shortcut functions, were already available as keystroke commands, but now they are predominantly displayed for easier access, Elliott said. In addition to these enhancements, Slack announced 11 new layout color schemes, including eggplant and banana.
In addition to the product enhancements, Slack has updated its help center with webinars and tutorials on how to use the app, and “will do … with Slack,” Elliott said. This is, in part, to address the influx of new users Slack — like others in the communications and collaboration market – has seen as workers turn to virtual conversations rather than in-person meetings in response to the coronavirus threat, he added.
 
These enhancements will initially roll out starting today to the desktop experience, and then to the mobile experience in the weeks to follow, according to Slack.