Every once in a while I find an app that absolutely changes how I work. Slack is one of those apps.
I was introduced to Slack by a co-worker at my office who was invited into the private beta. Initially I must admit I was skeptical Slack would fit into our workflow considering the numerous other messaging services which have tried and failed. As time went on however, Slack proved to be indispensable to our team. Let me explain.
There are two ways an app can get into my workflow:
- It does something no other app has ever done.
- It does something other apps have done, but it does it better.
Slack falls into the second category. If you’re unfamiliar, Slack (from their own description) is a “platform for team communication: everything in one place, instantly searchable, available wherever you go.”
You may think that sounds like numerous other apps and you’re right. Services like Basecamp and Zapier have long tried to offer a service which makes business communication seamless and accessible. Who can blame them for trying? One of the most common complaints of any employer is internal communication (or lack there of).
The difference between Slack and those aforementioned apps is Slack does it better in several ways:
Slack integrates with virtually every web service imaginable. Everything including: Dropbox, Asana, IFTTT, Twitter and Mailchimp can be integrated into your team chat further enhancing the usefulness of Slack.
For example, you can integrate Mailchimp into a chat channel so everytime you send a campaign your entire team will be notified. Or you can integrate Dropbox to easily send files to the rest of your team.
Integrating Slack with these (and numerous other) web services has made it a way better alternative for our team than email notifications.
I’ve barely scratched the surface on available integrations. Check out the full list here.
Anyone whose tried to find an old iMessage knows how much of a pain it is to find past conversations without scrolling infinitely for hours on end.
That’s not the case with Slack.
Slack features (what I consider) to be the best search available in any third-party application. I’m serious – I’ve never seen search implemented as well as it has been inside Slack.
What makes the search functionality so good is how well it indexes file names and messages to find exactly what you’re looking for. As said by Slack: “Slack searches whole conversations, not just individual messages, so you can find what you’re looking for no matter who said what or when they said it.”
A sign of a good search function is the time spent (or not spent) trying to find something – and with Slack, I’ve never had an issue finding old messages.
Slack works on virtually all platforms including web and native apps for iPhone, iPad and Mac. They all feature beautifully designed user interfaces that blend well with the flat design cues of iOS 8 & Yosemite.
Be Less Busy
I’ve barely scratched the surface of what Slack is capable of doing and how it can improve communication in your business or group of friends. Speaking from experience, it has changed the way our team communicates and has become an indispensable tool in our workflow. I couldn’t imagine working without the assistance of Slack – and hopefully I’ll never have to.