Slack adds app home screen, better app discoverability
At its Spec developer conference, Slack today unveiled new features aimed at bolstering app discoverability and reducing the need to leave Slack for a variety of tasks. The changes include a new app home screen and redesigned app launcher, the addition of modal windows, and an extension of app “actions” across the platform.
Accessing other apps from within Slack has long been key to the collaboration tool’s appeal; there are now more than 1,800 third-party apps available in the company’s App Directory. Options include integrations with the likes of Microsoft, Salesforce, Workday and Google and for Slack-specific bots and services Polly and Troops.
Slack said 600,000 daily active registered developers are now building on the platform. That prompted the company to find ways to make it easier for developers to create new services – and for users to access those services.
One of the new features is the app home screen, which lets developers offer new functions for individual apps. The software, for instance, can now display information related to a user’s work (like upcoming tasks or pending expenses) and the ability to interact directly from the home screen.
The Google Calendar app, for example, can display a user’s schedule for the current or future date and let users respond to meeting requests or join video calls directly.
Developers can customize home screens using the Block Kit UI framework launched last year.
App home screens are accessed by clicking on the new app launcher in the Slack sidebar that gives an overview of all installed and available apps.
“Previously, a user had to hunt around or search for apps that they interacted with in the past. Now, we provide a single entry point to easily access that,” said Andy Pflaum, Slack director of product. “You can think of this like an app on your phone, where every time you open an app you’re taken to the same starting point – so it is a consistent experience and a…