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Slack has rapidly taken over emails and meetings, as the leading platform for office and team communication. However, the lack of organization inside Slack could be improved by studying its users and usability issues.

THE PROJECT

During my time at the General Assembly, I conducted a 10 week study on Slack to gain a deeper understanding of the intersection of productivity/collaboration and communication. 

Slack has been transformative for the way I work. I love it as a place for brainstorming ideas and stay organized with project managers. Slack has a great search feature to find specific files, but there is no way to get insight into what is happening in any given channel without manually skimming through it.

My goal was to design a platform upgrade. The problem statement I based the project on was that Slack users need a way to benefit from an accessible, customizable and organized dashboard that facilitates and promotes effective.

AGENCY

FCB Health NY

CLIENT

Dermira, Inc.

ROLE

Art Director

UI Designer

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MAIN PAIN POINTS

NOTIFICATION MADNESS 

TASK MANAGER M.I.A. 

HIDDEN FEATURES

CLUTERING CHALLENGES

WHICH LEADS TO:

FRUSTRATED TEAMS

DECREASE OF PRODUCTIVITY

INCREASE OF STRESS

CURRENT FEATURES

Today’s communication apps compete to grab your attention and maximize your time spent inside their apps. Slack connects to the tools and services that businesses already use and centralizes the notifications, files, and data from hundreds of different applications. Everything shared in Slack is automatically indexed and archived so that companies can create a comprehensive knowledge simply by working in Slack.

 

However, to be a far more valuable tool that extends far beyond the engineering and product teams in an organization, the experience of file sharing and task management needs to be rethought in the current product.

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1. DISCOVER

RESEARCH & ANALYSIS

USER RESEARCH 

My focus during the user research was to investigate how my peers use Slack's features to get work done and stay organized.

I conducted individual user interviews either over voice chat or in person. I prepared questions to serve as a loose guideline on the sorts of topics and questions I would go over which informed me of where in their lives communication tools play a role.

Interviews, Surveys, USABILITY STUDIES & AFFINITY MAPPING

Key Findings

1. Learnability & Adherence Challenges 

Slack’s features are hidden and are hard to remember, even advanced users miss the chance on elevating the performance of their teams.

2. Efficiency Challenges & Missed Potential

Users want to ensure that whatever they invest time in, delivers on its promise of efficiency.

3. Most Common Tools to stay organized at work are:

- To-Do Lists

- Priority Lists

- Time Allocation

- Reminder Alerts

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New users

“Most don’t know about Slack’s features”

“I didn’t know what the chatbot and slash commands were until you told me.”

“I’m only in slack when I receive a notification because I only use it to chat. I jump through apps to get things done.”

advanced users

“Effort vs. Value”

“To get the most out of our day at work
it takes a big team effort to use
Slack properly.”

“Integrated apps are only helpful when someone is solely in charge of being the admin and taking care of maintenance processes.”

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COMPETITORS ANALYSIS

A UX competitor analysis involves assessing competitor sites to see how they design for their users—potentially solving for similar user needs.

MAIN FOCUS:

TASK MANAGEMENT

In my research I focused on 4 companies that offer similar services from Slack. My goal was to better understand how these platform lay out all their features and help users stay focused and organized. 

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PERSONAS

The archetypical users I chose to focus have goals and characteristics that represent the needs of a larger group of users. Most teams in the creative and startup world can attest the struggle that it entails the prioritize tasks when everything is due in the same timeline. 

CONTEXT and USER PATTERNS

#DREAMTEAM

1. Activity, time and resource planning

2. Managing client reporting and documentation

3. Analyzing and managing project risks

4. Monitoring progress

5. Organizing and motivating team

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2. DEFINE

SYNTHESIS & PRIORITIZATION

2x2 Matrix

Prioritization charts give us a simple way to assess and analyze what is most impactful to the user and business, in a collaborative, disciplined way. 

While the process is the primary purpose of a prioritization exercise, the artifact that comes out of it is equally beneficial. The chart represents a shared visual representation of collaborative ranking and indicates a democratic process, rather than the opinions of any one individual.  Anyone can glance at the wall and understand what the team collectively agrees on.

Must have:

Feature prioritization

1. Workflow Management

2. Documentation Distribution

3. Community Management

4. Collaboration Workspace and Tools

5. Video Support

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USER FLOWS

Prioritization charts give us a simple way to assess and analyze what is most impactful to the user and business, in a collaborative, disciplined way. 

While the process is the primary purpose of a prioritization exercise, the artifact that comes out of it is equally beneficial. The chart represents a shared visual representation of collaborative ranking and indicates a democratic process, rather than the opinions of any one individual.  Anyone can glance at the wall and understand what the team collectively agrees on.

MVP: REVISION OF RESEARCH KEY FINDING

MOST COMMON TOOLS TO BE PRODUCTIVE 

1. Tasks Lists

2. Priority Lists

3. Time Allocation

4. Reminder Alerts

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APPLICATION MAP

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3. DEVELOPE

EVALUATION & IDEATION

INITIAL DASHBOaRD DESIGN CONSIDERATIONS

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LOW Fidelity

wireframing

Wireframes are a simplified and schematic visual representation of a layout for website pages or screens of an application interface. This was a quick study so these wireframes were blueprints for the prototypes. 

APPS MANAGEMENT Menu

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FIle MANAGEMENT Menu

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Tasks MANAGEMENT Menu

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4. DELIVER

DESIGN & TESTING

PROTOTYPING

Interactions need to be thought out well and similar to the final result and checked thoroughly before the development team starts their work. Making alterations, adding elements and changing transitions is much more time-consuming and expensive at the stage of development, that’s why it’s important to check the usability of the UI elements in advance. Prototyping is much more efficient and useful as the step between UX design and UI design

APP MANAGEMENT Menu

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FIle MANAGEMENT Menu

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Tasks MANAGEMENT Menu

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I'm currently available to work on new opportunities.

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