Slack might be finally fixing two irritations in the app: Statuses that you have to manually adjust and inefficient direct message navigation.
The solutions in question were discovered hidden in the app's code by Jane Manchun Wong, a student at University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, who posted screenshots of the features on Twitter.
Slack always allowed users to change their status, like "in a meeting," "busy," "on vacation" or "working remotely." Currently, though, users have to manually change the status back to "active" once they return, which can cause confusion when employees forget to change their status.
SEE: Comparison chart: Enterprise collaboration tools (Tech Pro Research)
With the potential feature, users would be able to set their statuses to automatically expire after a predetermined amount of time. This could prevent miscommunication between colleagues if someone forgets to change their status to accurately reflect their availability.
The other hidden feature Wong found allows users to more quickly compose direct messages. A new button would potentially be placed at the top of the sidebar, according to Wong, which is much easier to maneuver than scrolling through a list of people.
The features are not publicly available on Slack, and Slack has not confirmed that these features are even planning on being permanently implemented or released. However, with the updates addressing some major complaints in the app, nobody would be surprised if the features did go live.
Wong told TNW that she found the features "sitting inside [Slack's] code" when she was "reverse engineering" the current application.
The big takeaways for tech leaders:
- Slack may be quietly experimenting with a new DM button and expiring statuses, which could make the Slack experience much better for users, according to researcher Jane Manchun Wong.
- Wong found these functions in Slack's code, but no announcement has been made about the features actually being implemented.
- Slack or HipChat: Which is Better? (TechRepublic)
- Slack explains the role of AI and machine learning in enterprise collaboration (ZDNet)
- Slack: The smart person's guide (TechRepublic)
- Slack's new 'action buttons' could let you get more things done (CNET)
- Slack (Download.com)
Macy Bayern has nothing to disclose. She does not hold investments in the technology companies she covers.
Macy Bayern is an Associate Staff Writer for TechRepublic. A recent graduate from the University of Texas at Austin's Liberal Arts Honors Program, Macy covers tech news and trends.