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In our early days back in 2007 I started looking for an app which could improve our communication, help us collaborate and add some fun
I stumbled upon Campfire, although pricey we gave it a shot. Campfire was fun, but as our team was growing, we soon found we needed a more dedicated app for communication. After a quick google search, hipchat popped up. I was thrilled, Hipchat looked promising. Our whole team of 10 adapted to hipchat quickly and found ourselves hooked. Hipchat was fun, and we used it as part of our daily communication. As a landing page agency, we had many assets to send around, and hipchat replaced our email. We were quite happy with hipchat and soon found a new kid on the block. Slack mostly attracted SaaS companies and disrupted the marketplace. I remember the first time I heard about it was at an event when the organisers shared their slack channel with the participants. Something was different, and I felt the pain we endured has somehow replaced with some cool words. Because I was a happy customer and pretty much satisfied, I didn’t want our team to switch over…yet.
It started when I was invited to join a Slack Team. I was working as a contractor and invited by the CEO. Straight away I saw channels, hashtags, gifs, emojis. This felt like a different world. Cleaner, great User interface and the most important bit - it worked. Its strange over the years, when I first used Skype (which almost dominated the marketplace) turned out to be a complete failure and lost its market. Now I use Skype to either speak to family members who still have a desktop or with some connections who don’t want to adapt. However, I want to focus on slack.
For most of you, slack might be your first team chat app and to understand why it has taken over team communication is down to 3 things.
I have been a Mac user since 2007 and our remote team mostly devs used Windows. This created a problem in itself. Not many apps could talk to each other. Tools like Dropbox disrupted the file-sharing market and created a tool which shared files across various platforms, operating systems, devices. I would compare Dropbox to slack. Slack exactly did that. I now use slack on my iPhone, some of our team members use slack on Chrome while some have slack installed on their Windows machine. It works seamlessly and syncs across, technology at its best. As a user I don’t have to care or worry about how it works, it just does.
Coming from a design background, I love the attention to detail. Slack is packed with tiny little details which collectively makes it a great product. The fact you can customise welcome quotes when slack loads up show how the team has thought of tiny little details to delight team members and create great user experience to make the product stick! Also as a sidenote slack looks pretty great. Coming from white and grey interfaces, Slack added the dark theme, which looks excellent.
As a user you want things to work. Slack is not perfect; it does crash once in a while. However, the way it gracefully responds to broken wi-fi or potential errors adds to the excellent user experience. Tools like Skype running for decades still are no match to Slack on reliability. We never had problems where team members didn’t get messages or file were blocked, slack crashed etc. These words will resonate well with users pre-slack days.
To conclude, as an agency we love slack and use it on an hourly basis. Slack removes friction and helps us be more productive. In our agency, we surround ourselves with great products so we can inspire ourselves and help change the world. Do you use slack at your workplace, what do you like about it the most?