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Slack's Transformation: A New Approach to Organize Your Workday

August 12, 2023

Slack, the multifaceted tool owned by Salesforce, has been many things to many people. It's not just a team chat app; it's an alerts system, a file storage system, a knowledge base, and more. But with the expansion of features, Slack's interface became cluttered and confusing. Now, the company is set to roll out its most significant redesign ever, aiming to make the app more user-friendly and efficient.

A New Home for Slack Users

The redesign focuses on the heaviest Slack users, according to Noah Weiss, Slack's chief product officer. The new Home section will look familiar, but the changes become apparent as you explore further. A new sidebar on the left side organizes all your Slack content in innovative ways.

Direct Messages Reimagined

The new DMs section resembles other messaging apps, including Microsoft Teams, Slack's competitor. It organizes all your conversations on the left and the active one on the right, allowing you to manage all your chats in one place.

Unified Activity Window

Further down the sidebar, a new Activity window acts as a "unified inbox," displaying all your messages, mentions, and reactions across all your Slack workspaces. It's designed to help employees catch up on everything at the start of their day.

More Context, More Focus

The redesign's overarching goal is to provide users with more context and focus. It organizes modes of working rather than types of objects, helping users catch up, respond, triage, and follow up on tasks. For more chaotic users, Slack has reworked its multi-windowing system to allow multiple views open simultaneously.

New Tools to Tame the Chaos

Along with new views, Slack has improved its workflow for saving content. A dedicated "Later" menu in the sidebar lets you quickly save anything in Slack and add reminders or check it off when finished. Other features like the Huddles video chat feature are now more prominently displayed.

A Different Way of Thinking

The redesign represents a shift in thinking about the app. It adds a third organizational layer, aiming to sort and filter all the content you care about. "It was about actually putting all the things that we've built over time into a sensible, comprehensible place," Weiss says. While it may feel different at first, the company is confident users will appreciate the new tools.

Future-Proofing Slack

Weiss also hopes the new design creates space for future features, as Slack continues to evolve. It's moving beyond being just a messaging app, aiming to be the operating system for your work. Chat is now just a tab; the product's future lies in being a cross-platform, all-encompassing place where everything happens.

Conclusion

Slack's redesign is not just a cosmetic change; it's a rethinking of how the app functions and serves its users. By organizing content in new ways and making features more accessible, Slack aims to become more than just a messaging tool. It's a step towards becoming the operating system for work, where chat is just one part of a broader, more integrated experience. Whether this redesign resonates with users will be seen in time, but it's clear that Slack is committed to innovation and evolution.

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