Reduce channel noise with Block Kit

Slack brings people, data, and applications together. It is a single place where people can work together, find important information, and access thousands of critical applications and services to do their best work. With, we enhance this by helping people collaborate, focus on their priorities, and get things done.

The channel clutter dilemma is a fully-fledged, active, and smart member of your team. It acts as an optimistic enabler, a reliant colleague, and an always-present helper to every channel that you invite it to.

It delivers useful, smart, and timely messages instead of creating excessive channel pollution.

What came as a challenge for us was choosing the right message format for our users. Focus is key, and we did not want to take it away by consuming valuable channel space.

We want your team to have the full power of available without making it cumbersome to use because of endless scrolling.

This is where Block Kit comes in.

What is Block Kit?

In Slack, Block Kit is a design framework that allows you to create visually rich, interactive app messages. The beauty of Block Kit is that it provides flexibility and control over the order and appearance of information through app messages. Additionally, buttons, menus, and interactive elements like a date picker or overflow menus can be presented in a far neater way.

We found the Block Kit design framework to be ideal for the app.

Optimize your focus
No need to switch platforms, set your tasks in Slack

The task message

Trying to be all things to all people is usually a futile exercise. We are an ambitious bunch though, so we set out to get as close to an ideal scenario that would please all types of teams as possible.

Team members and modern SaaS users usually fall into these buckets:

  • The “in charge” crowd — Those who want total control and all the details. Users who want the entire rundown of the task with attachments, due dates, and labels.
  • The in-betweeners — Those who only want certain options to be available to them.
  • The minimalists — Those who want their channels as clean as possible with messages that get straight to the point.

We are proudly a “Slack 1st” app. The full functionality of our web interface can be accessed and used directly in Slack. No cutting corners, no suboptimal experience. Providing the complete experience right in Slack is very important to us. Switching programs is cumbersome and takes away focus. We want our users to act on a task and add labels, attachments, and due dates without leaving their communication platform.

This brings us to our solution on how to cater to the three buckets of users we identified above.

Getting down to the specifics

Using the power of Block Kit and all the flexibility it provides when crafting messages in Slack, we developed three formats of our task message.

  • Full view — The tried and tested version, loved by our users. It caters to the “in charge” crowd, to the users that need full control of every aspect of the task. All the information about the task is unfurled, in plain sight. The title and description are in full view, along with all the controls one might need.
  • Basic view — Catering to those users who are "in-between". It gives you the important information about the task with convenient controls for setting due dates, assignees, and labels.
  • Compact view - This format of our task message gives you the essentials only. It blends seamlessly into your channel communication by being only two lines long. It shows the name of the task, its status, and info on any labels, due dates, and attachments. That’s it. Essential info only without causing any distraction.

Of course, you and your team have total control over which format is used in your channels. Block Kit has allowed us to add a handy little button on each task that you can use to toggle all three message formats.

You can also just ping in the channel and choose your preference for any new task created in the channel. Type @workstreams basic for the basic format, @workstreams compact for the compact one, and @workstreams full for the full format task message.

We are excited about Block Kit and all its possibilities. We want to make the experience of using in Slack as enjoyable as possible and using the latest tools from Slack allows us to do just that.

Onwards and upwards!

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