Teams around the world use Slack to communicate and collaborate. Custom apps are Slack's key feature for allowing teams to automate tasks and streamline workflows. With these apps, users can integrate various workflows and processes into Slack, enabling them to accomplish many tasks in one place.
As we have been building Slack apps both for ourselves and for our customers; we learned the tips and tricks of building apps, and developed our Actioner platform to enable the most user-friendly Slack apps. In this post, we wanted to share a few key guidelines to follow in order to create a seamless and intuitive user experience while building Slack apps.
- First, make sure your app's interactions are easy to use and understand. Use clear and concise language, and consider providing examples or explanations when necessary. Interactive elements, such as buttons and menus, can also make it easier for users to take actions within the app. This is especially helpful to users since they can access all the relevant context and actions through Slack, thereby avoiding context switches and navigating between many tools and browser tabs.
- When possible, allow users to complete tasks within the channel rather than directing them to another channel or a direct message within the app. If applicable, use a dedicated channel for a particular task, such as a deal's swarm or a PR's approval. In this way, newcomers and others who may need that context in the future can have all the relevant context piled up in one central location, as source of truth.
- Provide informative feedback to users after actions are taken. In this way, the user won't have to guess if something is happening or if their interactions have had a negative effect. This is particularly true when there are long-running processes that may require them to wait. Use an emoji, such as a spinning wait icon, in this case, for instance. Alternatively, let them enjoy a funny GIF while they wait for their action to be completed.
- Whenever you interact, consider the context - who you are talking to, what you are discussing, and where you are. Use threads, ephemeral messages, or direct messages as appropriate. If, for example, you are in a crowded channel and have a response that only a singular user needs to see, then it may not be appropriate to publish your message to the entire channel. A better option may be to have your app publish responses as threads, ephemerally (so only certain users can see them), or to send a direct message (DM) to the user.
Add GIfs while waiting for action results
- Keep users from being overwhelmed with too much information. Ensure that your language is clear and concise and that you only provide information that is necessary. It is particularly important if you are part of a large organization with a dense connection network. With that being said, leverage Actioner’s Slack-specific interactive elements like buttons, forms, tables and charts to make your app easier to navigate and use. Actioner’s Slack-specific tables, for example, are great for listing things, supporting pagination for more information and overflow buttons for taking actions directly there. Similarly, by utilizing Actioner's charts, you can present information in ways that are not normally supported by Slack; thus, you can enhance Slack's capabilities to keep up-to-date with your data.
Rich outputs on Slack
- Another thing to consider is how to package your apps. Instead of cramming everything into one big Slack app, consider smaller apps that cover specific use cases and personas. This way, you can create tailored experiences for each user group and org function, and everyone will be clear which app to use and when. Using Actioner’s no-code app builder, you can incorporate roles like requester/approver and set app access and usage permissions per app, as you like.
Example Slack apps built on Actioner & Slack
- Finally, make sure to test your app thoroughly before sharing it with your entire organization. Actioner gives you the tools to test and debug each and every action and workflow of your Slack apps easily, without having to set up any development or test environment. Once you’re ready, distributing your app to your org, and even with others in the community is easy breezy!
Thanks for reading our guidelines! By following them, you can design effective and user-friendly interactions for your Slack app that will help improve your team's workflow and productivity. Start using Actioner today, and build your apps & bots like a charm!