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Product Design

Slack as a Channel for Inspiration

Posted 4 years ago by Naomi Francis
Slack as a Channel for Inspiration

It’s hard to stay inspired. We’ve all experienced the headaches and weariness of losing momentum whilst designing. It’s common knowledge that everyone has different ways of driving a new spurt of creativity - whether it’s going for a run or simply staying in tune with their surroundings. However, most people find inspiration within a content rich space where they can explore work from others within the design community.

There are so many websites, forums and products which claim to be the place to go for quality content, but sometimes it's difficult to know where to start. The internet is a big place. Starting your own search for inspiration is like being dropped in the centre of New York for the first time. Without no map and no reference point. Sure, you can look at the signs to direct you where to go, but it’s the locals who will give you the best recommendations.

The first step then is finding the locals. When Slack arrived and disrupted the team instant messaging space it simultaneously opened an alternative inspiration sharing platform within offices around the world. Suddenly it became a channel for experienced designers with knowledge of where the rich content lies on the web to act as the ‘locals’ and introduce their colleagues to the best spots for inspiration. Broadening their experience of the web and expanding the sources they’re exposed to.

"Experiencing Slack for the first time within a creative environment is brilliantly overwhelming."

Slack has launched its status to the only relevant messaging tool with a growing app directory. Andrew Wilkinson, Founder of Metalab (the design agency behind Slack), believes this is solely down to its smooth usability and strong visual design. He insists that In terms of what it can do, it’s almost identical to every other chat app the difference is that it’s a product people want to use.

Here are Andrew’s 3 things he thinks makes Slack different:

“Slack acts like your wise-cracking robot sidekick, not the boring enterprise chat tool it would otherwise be.”

Experiencing Slack for the first time within a creative environment is brilliantly overwhelming. The speed at which people are building on ideas, sharing links to innovative designs and finding context appropriate gifs is insane. It’s like being added to a WhatsApp group of 20 people having a roast of one person, it’s witty, it’s fast and you don’t want to miss one thing.

Slack as a channel for inspiration combines the processes of like-minded individuals. If you have the right people on the right channels, you can essentially host your own stream of tailored content which is unique to your business. When we're speaking to our talented users who span a range of industries, it's becoming commonplace to hear that they use Slack to keep on top of new design trends and to stay inspired. Employees company wide and informal creative circles are dropping refreshing links, files and news into Slack channels, making it a destination for rich and trustworthy content.

Slack has given us a platform to broaden our experience of the web without having to search for it. We can now attain quality content through an excellent and endless stream of recommendations from our team members, void of algorithms controlling your consumption.

It’s interesting to see a messaging service surpass other methods of inspiration. One longstanding method has been dribbble, the self-declared show and tell platform for designers which launched in 2010. Joining the community on dribbble to share and critique designs is designer 101 . Ayana Campbell describes being a part of the dribbble community as “levelling the playing field when it comes to connecting the well-known creatives in our industries.”

"Dribbble levels the playing field when it comes to connecting the well-known creatives in the design industry."

There has been some mixed opinions of dribbble recently, with worries that the site is having a bit of an identity crisis. Ollie Barter, a designer at Big Bite Creative, places the confusion on the question of whether or not dribbble’s mission is about giving feedback or showing off. He claims that it cannot be both as it will dilute the site with different types of content and intent.

Regardless of this concern, dribbble has established itself as the face of the design community online and a destination for inspiration. It’s a popular place to go because you can actually communicate with the designers you follow and also get a glimpse of where they get their inspiration from. People design freely and for fun. In it’s success it has also drawn employers to the site to source amazing designers for their business.

“Creatives seek other creatives and are inspired by their company; you almost always see creative geniuses connected together directly in some fashion. Elevate the company you keep and fill your creative space with those who have been places and experienced things you aspire to.” - Ayana Campbell.

Ayana couldn’t have said it better, “creatives seek other creatives and are inspired by their company.” What Dribbble and Slack both have in common in terms of channels of inspiration is that you are in the company of like minded people, communicating and sharing experiences. Even in the digital world, acting human hasn’t lost its touch.

"Even in the digital world, acting human hasn’t lost its touch."

Writing for Marvel. Writing for fun. Eating everywhere, all the time.

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