Five Years on Slack: Notifications that Inform Instead of Distract
This month marks five years since Storyware started using Slack. It has been a game-changer for our internal communication. Email traffic between our team is down to almost zero since most of our communication occurs in Slack or our task management platform, asana. Of course, this isn’t that surprising. It’s the main reason Slack is so successful. Over the next few months, I will outline how we use Slack, what works and what hasn’t.
As a productivity nerd, I’ve also spent a lot of time sampling automated notifications within Slack. For those of you who have not used Slack, it enables workspace administrators to install applications and integrations that trigger Slack notifications from other platforms. They are designed to publish this third-party content and data into Slack so you have all the info you will ever need right within Slack. While that sounds divine, quite a few of the applications and integrations that I’ve tried create a lot of noise. This noise creates distractions, which is the #1 issue with Slack. Even still, I’ve created several Slack notifications using their applications and integrations that are useful, informative, and create little interruption.
Here are our top five Slack notification integrations:
5. Google Calendar (application)
We use Google Calendar for not only our individual calendars, but for team calendars. For example, we have one calendar to track PTO and remote work, another calendar to schedule production releases, and a third to communicate various professional development and networking events that occur around Charlottesville.
Every morning, Slack’s Google Calendar application will update our main team channel of today’s events giving us a nice snapshot of what’s on tap for the day.
4. Envoyer (integration)
Storyware uses Envoyer to deploy code changes for our WordPress applications. Using Slack’s incoming webhooks application, we have created Slack notifications for each Envoyer project when a release occurs. These notifications occur within the appropriate Slack channel, which you have to manually set up in Slack. But once there are set up, then with each release, Envoyer will alert Slack when a release finishes along with a release status (success or failure). This is a great way to automatically inform the team when a release is occurs.
3. Stripe (application)
Our invoicing platform uses Stripe for credit card and ACH payments. Every time a client pays a bill using one those methods, a message is posted to a private Stripe channel. Who doesn’t like being notified when money has been added to your bank account?
2. Google Drive (application)
Google Drive is our file storage platform and with the Google Drive Slack application, you can be notified within Slack when someone responds to your comments or assigns a comment to you. As an added bonus, you can grant others access to your Google document right within Slack.
1. Uptime Robot (integration)
Our most useful notifications come from Uptime Robot. Uptime Robot is a site monitoring service that will alert us when a website is down. Similar to how we set up Envoyer notifications, Uptime Robot notifications are created using Slack’s incoming webhooks application. With the Slack phone app, we are alerted at all times of the day, which results in quick resolutions and shorter outages.
Honorable Mention: The Daily Forecast using IFTTT
One of the first notifications that I set up in Slack was a daily notification with tomorrow’s weather forecast. Using IFTTT, it goes out every weekday at 4:30pm ET.
Of course, I’m always looking for more useful Slack applications and integrations. Do you have any recommendations?
Check out our blog for more UX, design, and development content and give us a shout.
Also published on Medium.
As CEO of Storyware, Todd oversees the direction of the company, business development and operations along with consulting key clients on digital strategy.