Better than an e-mail client, better than an instant messaging client. This is my final thought about Slack. I have been using it for several months and at work it was immediately accepted by everyone. It’s too handy, too useful and too easy to use to be considered redundant. Actually it is just the opposite: Slack adds value and productivity improving interactions in a team and in a company. First thing, it is top-notch software: I tried exclusively Mac and iOS clients and they are both planned with accuracy, attention for details and great stability. It may sound obvious for all software, but we frequently find bugs and illogical things on the UI. For Slack it is just the opposite, as we said: not only the UI is smooth and nice, but it is also rational and super-intuitive, and that’s a much appreciated point.
How did Slack captivate me? It is a good tool for communication and sharing information and data. The basic concept is creating a workgroup (the entire company or smaller teams) with direct interactions among people or through arbitrarily defined topics called Channels. This is the reason why I said it is an ensemble of e-mail client and instant messaging. Combining both functions in a very elegant and efficient interface, Slack adds and subtracts things like a surgeon would do. It increases productivity making communications simple and quick but still tracking what you shared. At the same time it takes you to move all those sporadic interactions that seem too much for an e-mail but you still want to memorise. Therefore, it rationalises the way you work according to a different perspective from e-mail and messaging.
Channels represent the most innovative aspect. Imagine you are working on the 2015 Q4 report. This subject can become a new channel (name it as you want) in which everyone can contribute with comments, requests, documents, images, links, files in the cloud and whatever is related to the topic.
The logic of personal communication is also a winning aspect. On top of 1:1 channels with each member of the group (just like a private conversation), whenever it is necessary it is also possible to send a message in the group and select the users directly involved in certain activities or requests (you just use @username syntax), so everybody knows, but the communication is properly delivered.
Slack is available in a free version or in different plans according to the needs and the size of an organisation. It is also good for freelancers to efficiently manage interactions with collaborators and partners and it can even make sense in a familiar environment, as it is richer and simpler than any other solution on the market.
Last but not least, iOS app is a gem, and the Mac client too.