As Slack continues to grow in popularity, more users are finding themselves working across multiple teams. Yet on mobile devices Slack is optimized to be used by only one or a very few number of teams. How to make the mobile experience better for these increasingly common power users?
By improving the notification service as well as the addition of a new feature that allows users to view content across teams without having to switch groups, Slack's mobile service can more effectively support users who work across multiple teams.
Tools: InDesign, Sketch, pen & paper, Balsamiq, InVision
Deliverable: Proto-personas, scenarios, wireframes, mockups, click-through demo
Role: Solo project
What do Slack users complain about?
Since I didn’t really have access to a large Slack user-base I created 2 proto-personas that surfaced from my research. These are based on a few interviews, a survey, a lot of secondary research, and an educated guess about who Slack should be designing for. With more time or access to resources, I would validate these with more primary research, knowing full well that Slack probably uses more than 2 personas for its design process.
Some users are unclear about how the notification system works on their phones.
Many Slack features are hidden from non-expert users who have a hard time finding out about them if not through word of mouth.
Users want more integration recommendations. Could SlackBot recommend integrations based on a team’s activities?
Anonymity is important for some informal communities of strangers.
Users want to schedule events directly from within the app.
The Slack sidebar is confusing for some users who fail to understand the distinction between groups and channels. Why can't channels be reordered on the sidebar?
Scoping the problem
I chose to tackle the notification system because it is a feature that already exists within Slack and works slightly different across different platforms. Does setting a notification preference on one platform affect another? Is there a way to clarify when users are setting notifications for teams vs. global notification settings? Is there a better way to alert users of new conversations when they are on many teams? While the redesign is less ambitious than other possibilities, it is also more realistic given the mission and scope of the Slack app.
"I’ve noticed that members of the group that don’t have the desktop app, don’t participate in too many conversations that I think are important. So we have to poke at them and get them to participate."
“I don’t know how the service decides what I get on my phone. Are they direct mentions? Conversations I belong to?”
Personas and scenarios
Wirefames for three possible solutions
Mockups: flexibility and progressive disclosure
Solution #1: Give the user some progressive disclosure on the main menu when they receive a notification from another team.
Solution #2: Users can pin important channels from other teams on their main view - to be viewable always on the sidebar.
Solution #3: Cleaner UI to clarify how and when notifications are pushed. Keywords can be added directly from within the mobile app, which isn't possible in the current implementation of Slack