There’s no place like home

New interactive elements and surfaces for your Slack app

Slack API
Slack API
Feb 6, 2020 · 4 min read

Slack shines when users are empowered to get their work done quickly and easily — with app builders, like yourself, but making those delightful experiences possible.

Today, there are a few new ways to make those apps sing: the latest interactive app surface, the app home tab; and the newest addition to the Block Kit family of interactive elements, checkboxes.

Create a persistent place for app users

We recently introduced the Slack app toolkit — the happy path for building apps that anyone can easily discover, understand, and use in Slack. Block-Kit-enabled surfaces, or the places people can experience rich app interactivity in Slack, are a component of the toolkit.

The latest surface, app home, offers a consistent place for users to engage with your app and is easily discoverable through the Slack sidebar. This surface contains three tabs — the about tab, messages tab, and home tab.

While the messages tab alerts users in real-time, you can now go beyond conversation-based interactions with the home tab — a fully customizable, interactive surface to showcase what your app can do.

Drift, a conversation-based sales and marketing tool, built a Slack app that uses the messages tab (for real-time updates throughout the sales cycle) and the home tab (for dynamic reporting and data insights).

The home tab is the default place for people to learn how to use your app without leaving Slack. Home can be used for settings, onboarding, dashboards, or custom content — specific to each user and each app.

Zapier, an automation tool, is launching a home tab for their Slack app that displays each person’s existing workflows (also known as Zaps). For novice users, there’s a whole section for learning how to use the app, like Make a new Zap and Some more things to try.

Zapier’s app users will soon be able to edit, manage, and create new Zaps in the home tab.

Build user-specific app experiences

The home tab isn’t simply a place for generic text. This surface enables you to display dynamic content for each user — like upcoming tasks, calendars, pending requests, or recent survey results.

Simple Poll, a polling app for Slack, built a home tab that displays filterable results — also a reliable place for app users to create new polls.

Halp, a ticketing platform for operations teams, updated their existing Slack app with new functionality that enables Slack users to filter, edit, and respond to tickets in the home tab. This dynamic dashboard reduces context switching and displays the most critical information all in one place

Halp dynamically displays open and pending requests in its home tab.

Design for each surface

Block Kit, the Slack app UI framework, continues to power more surfaces in Slack — most recently, the home tab, modals and messages. This opens up a world of possibilities for how app experiences can flow seamlessly in Slack.

Donut, a team-building app for Slack, built a home tab to help people manage app settings. While the app pairs and introduces teammates, the home tab is the default place for users to better understand how to use the app.

For instance, Donut’s home tab welcomes users and introduces fundamental things they can do with the app including an FAQ button. Clicking this button opens a modal of helpful content about the basics of using Donut in Slack.

Donut’s home tab gives users access to meaningful actions and information, from customizing settings to browsing or creating new channels — all without leaving Slack.

There is a unique use case for each surface and how these surfaces interplay to create deep productivity for app users. Learn more about the suggested best practices for building on each surface here.

But wait, there’s more!

Block Kit now supports a new interactive element — checkboxes. This UI component is best used for settings, tasks, and making quick contextual selections in a modal or home tab.

Build with checkboxes to help app users get more work done, faster in Slack.

Support for checkboxes is already available, so you can update your app and incorporate them right away. Start prototyping today in the Block Kit Builder.

Build a home for your app today

Whether you’re new to building Slack apps or a seasoned pro, get started creating a home tab for your app today by reading documentation on Slack API.

Also sign up to compete in the upcoming online hackathon on March 2–9, 2020. Show off what your app can do, connect with other builders, and get hands-on support from Slack’s product and engineering teams.

Questions? Email feedback@slack.com or tweet @SlackAPI.

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