Simplified Slack UI comes to mobile

A new navigation bar and other shortcuts pushed onto iOS and Android apps

Slack has rolled out a redesign of its mobile app for iOS and Android which includes a new navigation bar and other efficiency-boosting shortcuts. The update follows on from the simplicity push the company announced in March, which saw a raft of changes to its desktop version.

For the mobile app, changes include a function for switching channels and direct messages with swipe gestures and also a quick compose feature that offers a more email-like way of drafting a message. The most noticeable addition, however, is the new navigation bar at the bottom of the screen. The tab bar consists of four icons for home, direct messages, mentions and the user's profile. The previous navigation system was considered to be "confusing and unconventional", according to Slack. "The changes were aimed at addressing problems with the usability and discoverability of some core features of the Slack experience," the company wrote in a blog post.

"Before the redesign, we had inconsistent entry points and complex menus. Certain features were buried away and underutilised, making Slack harder to learn and use than it should be."

Direct messaging used to be "hard to reach" on mobile, according to Slack. On iPhone, it was accessed via a swipe gesture on the sidebar, whereas on Android, it was via a dropdown from the sidebar. Instead, recent conversations will be available in the new tab bar as a dedicated list.

The company recently tested moving its "Activity" screen to a more prominent location in the app, which was then renamed "Mentions and Reactions". Slack said it had received "strong feedback" from testers that this was quickly adopted as a core part of their daily usage, significantly improving their experience.

The mobile update is available in the US now and expected to roll out in the UK in the coming weeks with more of these updates coming to the mobile platform in the near future, as the firm continues to test out new features. Slack is urging users to send feedback by using the button under "preferences".

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