If you know, you know.

My theory: the design brief was: “Build something which looks like Slack and demos well enough, but that is quantifiably worse in every respect. Then add video chat, because we have that lying around and it’s the one thing Slack doesn’t have, so everyone will have to choose us anyway.”

My laundry list from today:

  • Make the top-level organisational concept (the ‘Team’) a second-level component of the user interface, so you can’t switch quickly between Teams. cf. Slack’s ⌘1, ⌘2 etc.
  • Remove notifications from the interface for tertiary-level elements. So to find out if you have new messages within a specific team’s group, you have to open that team.
  • Ensure all of this is slow.
  • No keyboard shortcuts for any of this.
  • No menu items for any of this.
  • No matter how many Teams you’re a part of, they’re all presented within precisely one window.
  • Except Chats, which can be split out into separate windows.
  • …from which key elements of the interface are removed.
  • …except on mobile, where the ‘reply to specific message’ feature is added.
  • …so on mobile, drop the partial Markdown-processing of text entry.
  • Ignore separate Chat windows and switch to the main viewer if you respond to a notification alert.
  • Make those notification alerts not use system-provided mechanisms.

Let’s not get started on why Immersive Reader is a top-level right-click action for individual messages.

The irony here is that email bloody sucks, and many of us have been arguing to get off it for years. What I hadn’t anticipated was the future where we actually do move away from email… to something worse.

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