Slack UX and Chatbot Development Best Practices

I had a chance to visit Slack's NYC headquarters last week, for an event about building better chatbots for users.  Whether it be Slack, Snapchat or Facebook Messenger, chat (as a medium) has largely surpassed social media in terms of engagement and time spent on platform.  Therefore as the chatbot space becomes more crowded, setting standards for chatbot development best practices (especially standards for user experience) is crucial for individual chatbots to succeed. 

I've long been a Slack chatbot fan (and was recently highlighted as a Statsbot super-user on their website). 

Bear Douglas, the Developer Advocacy Lead at Slack (formerly of Facebook and Twitter), led the talk, and had some interesting insight into successful chatbot development.  Firstly, when building a bot for the Slack App Directory, follow the basic guidelines like outlining your use cases, understanding your audience and creating guidelines for messaging.  Secondly, focus on the clarity of intent, and make sure you create an easy onboarding experience. Ensure your bot's diction is clear, using action words and inclusionary language. 

I had a chance to chat with Bear Douglas after the event, and mentioned I was impressed at how much the app directory had grown in the several years since I've adopted the platform.  I told her I had heard that Slack was kind of fulfilling the potential of what Twitter once had claimed; becoming a platform (for people to develop upon) rather than just a messaging app.  She quipped back, that "yeah, that's true, we do say that a lot... though that might be because most of people here-- we came directly from Twitter. 

The office was very cool as well.