Collaboratively Improving Collaboration – or the Simple Genius of Slack’s Block Kit Builder
This week I attended Slack’s Spec conference. They showed off some new features and one of them was brilliant in the simplicity of the UI. It allowed the beauty of Slack to be self-perpetuating in a powerful way. I am sure there was a lot of development work and thought that went on in the background to make it so clean and simple. But the extra genius has to be pointed out.
The feature soon to be released was their Block Kit Builder. It is a very clean WYSIWYG web interface for building up interactions. On the left you have large buttons for features like Text, Image, as well as several Collections like Context, Collection and Interactive to select from. As you select different items the graphical representation of those blocks build out real time in the center panel. And the JSON then appears in the right most panel. You can live-edit that JSON and see the changes as you modify the different text or collections and other features. (Note that the Slack representative at the conference said that the JSON will change prior to release – so don’t zoom in on my photo and try to reuse that code.)
This alone is very impressive. It allows anyone to design parts of the integration. Often the folks with the creative vision don’t have the developer skills to make those visions a reality. But with the Block Kit Builder that is now within reach of a much larger audience. It will make it much simpler to build a consistent user experience with richer interactions across attachments and dialogues. This will make it easier for people to comprehend, digest and act on an interaction during their experience inside Slack.
As for the genius? At the bottom is a “Send to Slack” button. It might seem obvious at first, but often true genius is the ability to see that obvious path. Now you can collaboratively enhance your collaboration! So if you’ve ever pondered the concept of computers being used to design faster computers (which are then used to design even faster computers) – ponder using Slack to collaborate on enhancing collaboration with such power and ease. Want to see more? See it at the Keynote now!