Building the Stack Overflow for Teams Slack Integration

How we used developer feedback to build a better product

Illustration credit: Rennie Abraham, Marketing Design Manager at Stack Overflow

Over the last few months, Stack Overflow developers have been busy working on Stack Overflow for Teams — a private version of Stack Overflow for your company. The product launched in May 2018 and in its first six months has grown to over 20,000 active users.

After Teams launched, one of the most requested features was a robust Slack integration that would allow Stack Overflow for Teams to fit right into a developer’s everyday workflow. With that in mind, we initiated the product discovery process, starting with ideal integration UI research and essential features for developers.

At Stack Overflow, user research is part of every new feature or product development. We want to make sure that everything we’re building is tailored to developers and makes their job easier. To do this, we held 1:1 interviews with a few dozen developers who were using Teams to get their feedback on potential aspects of the Slack app.

Interesting (and surprising) findings from our Slack integration user research

One interesting finding was how developers were cognizant of the interpersonal implications of certain features. For example, our Ask on Teams feature lets you create a question draft on Stack Overflow, straight from a Slack comment. Users brought up the dynamics of immediately following someone’s question with that prompt: while the redirect is helpful, it doesn’t immediately answer your colleague’s question. It may be most successful to answer their question first, then use Ask on Teams as a workflow to add the conversation to Stack Overflow.

Ask on Teams allows users to instantly draft Stack Overflow questions from Slack

Similarly, this came up in Search. Search enables users to find and share their team’s private questions and answers right in Slack. Before user research, the search results were posted by our Stack bot anonymously. Many users pointed out that (1) they wanted credit for performing a useful search, and (2) this inhibited further conversation and/or follow up due to the anonymity of the Stack bot. Because of this feedback, we made sure to credit the person sharing a search result.

Search enables users to find and share their private Team Q&A within Slack

Another theme that stood out in research was screen real estate. Conversations on Slack can move quickly and screen space is valuable. As a result, a lot of feedback pushed for different aspects of the integration to show the minimally required amount of information. For example, Search results originally included information such as tags, answers, upvotes, views, author, and post date. Following our research we’ve removed most of these details to make the search results more concise.

Preview these features and more by checking out our Slack integration, available to users of Stack Overflow for Teams.

To learn more about user research at Stack Overflow, send us a note.

Authors: Beth Devine, User Experience Researcher at Stack Overflow
Kristina Volovich, Product Marketing Manager at Stack Overflow

Illustration: Rennie Abraham, Marketing Design Manager at Stack Overflow