Slack Announces Enhanced Desktop Experience & Responds to Outages

We spoke to Slack about its new desktop application upgrades and June's connectivity issues

Slack Announces Enhanced Desktop Experience & Responds to Outages

At the end of June UC Today bought you the news that Slack users were experiencing a wide-ranging set of issues with the globally popular collaboration platform. Virtually all functions appeared to be impaired in one way or another with some users struggling to log-in to the application only to find that features like; notifications, messaging and app integrations were not functioning with their usual efficiency.

Slack is used by over 10 million users on a daily basis with many of its devoted aficionados relying on the application as their sole form of collaboration with colleagues. Such disruption put Twitter in to melt down with users reporting various different issues with the platform. After Slack’s shares soared following its IPO on the New York Stock Exchange, valuing the company initially at nearly $25 billion, any major outages are now a matter of public and investor interest. The outage was more than likely partly responsible for a dip in the share price on the 27th of June.

The platform is beloved by many users and Slack’s focus on user experience has been critical to its success and popularity to date. UC Today sought comment from Jaime DeLanghe, Director of Product Management at Slack.

“We take every incident and outage very seriously, and our reliability as a service is core to our commitment to our customers.”

“We are focused on both prevention and rapid detection of outages and constantly adding more resilience to Slack.”

Tweet From SlackSlack did respond quickly and, to their credit, kept users fully informed both through its social media channels and also the service section of its website. Slack had been experiencing issues earlier on the Wednesday of that week but they had apparently been resolved. It was not made clear whether the later issues on the Friday were related. Despite the severity of the problems the Slack technical team did manage to fully restore service in all areas by the close of Friday.

The rising popularity of collaboration applications means that their importance is heightened. Outages and issues such as those that took place in June are obviously a major concern for one of the world’s most valuable cloud companies. DeLanghe told UC Today that the entire organisation appreciate the vital role that the application plays in many user’s daily working lives.

“Our reliability as a service is a top priority and core to our commitment to our customers.”

New Desktop App Enhancements

Putting outage issues to one side, Slack have this week announced some news that will no doubt put a huge smile on any user’s faces; a dramatic desktop application upgrade.

Often when we hear about application enhancements, they are on a minor level. Some new features, a slight performance improvement, maybe? Not so with Slack’s latest revelation. Delanghe told us why the desktop experience was so critical for collaborators.

“As more conversations, information and apps run through Slack, the underlying technology that supports it must scale too. That’s why we rebuilt Slack’s desktop experience to run faster and more reliably across a growing number of workspaces and channels.”

Slack upgrade statsThe latest upgrades which are available now, and rolling out to all users over the next few weeks have some pretty impressive numbers at their core. The Slack desktop app will now launch and load 33% faster. It wasn’t sluggish before and now this remarkable improvement, attributed to fundamental coding changes to overcome a number of ‘shortcomings’ in the original desktop apps architecture, certainly grabs attention. As well as the speedy loading, calls within Slack will also experience acceleration. Users will now be able to join an incoming call with teammates up to 10 times faster.

As well as the speed enhancements, the new desktop application is also going to be kinder on your computer’s memory. By streamlining the desktop application’s architecture the engineering team have enabled more efficient information processes, potentially allowing machines to use up 50% less memory.

Slack memory usageOne issue, integral to performance, but that is outside of Slack’s control is a user’s connectivity. The latest desktop release goes some way to alleviating this potential stumbling block by allowing users to launch Slack and view previous channels and conversations despite a poor connection. Removing the need for connection error messages, users will be able to look back on messages from existing sessions, even if there connectivity drops in and out.

Slack’s clear commitment to user experience is one of the fundamental reasons behind its success so far. Reaffirming its investment in both background infrastructure, to prevent future outages, and also by redesigning its desktop application goes a long way in continuing to reassure existing and new potential subscribers.

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