Popular business communication platform Slack is getting a massive redesign that should make the platform simpler to use.
However, the company announced the redesign would begin rolling out today — perhaps a bold decision, considering the increase in people working remotely and relying on communication platforms like Slack. Several communication platforms have suffered outages from increased traffic over the last few days, including Microsoft Teams in Europe.
Audacious timing aside, Slack’s new redesign should iron out some of the navigational quirks of the platform while also making things work smoother for users. New features include better sidebar customization, a new universal compose button, a top navigation bar and more.
The redesign begins with Slack’s sidebar. The biggest change here is that messages, channels and apps can now be sorted into collapsible sections. For example, this means users can group channels and DMs for a specific product into a section specifically for that project.
While an excellent organizational tweak, Slack also locked the change behind a paywall. It’s only available on paid Slack plans and not free plans.
Alongside the new sidebar tweaks, Slack rolled out a new compose button. This appears at the top of the sidebar and lets users quickly start a message. Further, users can use the button to draft a DM or message for a channel and Slack will load in relevant message history from the destination.
Additionally, there’s a new sidebar section for ‘People’ and ‘Mentions & reactions,’ which should make it easier to find people you want to DM and see mentions or channel pings.
Finally, Slack says users will be able to customize the width of the sidebar and tweak its colour with 11 new themes that are coming soon.
Top navigation bar, minor UI changes and more
Along with the wealth of changes to the sidebar, Slack is adjusting the top navigation bar. The shift adds more prominence to search. On top of that, Slack now has forward and back buttons, like a web browser, for quickly switching between parts of the app.
Further, Slack changed the UI in minor ways to clean up channel details, menus, preferences and more.
Ultimately, these changes should mean Slack feels simpler and less cluttered than before.
Most of these changes apply to the desktop and web versions of Slack. However, the company also has plans to release a redesign to its mobile apps in the coming weeks. The Verge saw a sneak peek of the new apps, which include a new bottom navigation bar with quick access to ‘home,’ DMs and mentions.
All the new desktop changes will begin rolling out March 18th starting with new users brought on board by the influx of remote workers. The goal here is to avoid new users having to learn two different interfaces. Everyone else will begin to see the new design over the coming weeks.