Popular collaboration and chat app Slack will soon be getting a modern new UI for Android, based on recent reports. The update is bringing a new bottom-bar navigation UI, quicker access to recently used portions of the UI, and gestures.
The biggest change here is the new bottom-bar navigation. That's now comprised of a Home, DMs, Mentions, and You tab. Each is fairly straightforward, with the Home tab being selected by default. That houses channels and direct messages users are already actively a part of. There's also a new compose button on the bottom-right-hand side.
The DMs and Mentions tabs each offer direct access to direct messages and a list of messages where a given user has been mentioned.
Finally, the You tab lists out the user's name, profile picture, online status, and a box to enter a new status. Just below that are a toggle to set the status as "away" and an option for "Do Not Disturb" settings. Saved items, profile viewing, notifications, and preferences settings are found there too.
From the Home tab, users can also swipe to the right to open a sidebar with similar options to the You tab. That's also where the Channel Browser, team switcher, help, invites, and people menus are now found. A swipe to the left now serves as a quick access action for getting to the user's most recent message or Channel.
What else is new with Slack?
Now, Slack has long been heralded as one of the best apps around for what it does. That's as a productivity-focused chatting app with built-in collaborative tools. Over the past several months, the company has continuously built on that base too, adding new features to set itself apart from others on the market.
One of the most prominent of those recent changes falls directly in line with the new UI. That's because the purpose of the changes here is obviously to make the app more user-friendly. Especially since more users than ever are working from home and more businesses are looking for ways to increase productivity.
In early April, Slack released an update to Android that allows with Microsoft Teams and other voice calling apps. Slack users simply need to have a Zoom, RingCentral, Dialpad, or Cisco Jabber — Cisco Webex was already supported — account linked. Then they can make calls from Slack without having to leave the app. More directly, that's without having to go through any number of other clicks or taps.
The modern UI update for Slack should arrive for everybody soon but here's how to get it now
The redesign here is arriving as part of a beta variant of the application. That means users will need to go to the app's page on the Google Play Store and scroll down. At the bottom of the page, there's a link to sign up for the beta. After joining, users will need to wait a few minutes for the beta version to become available. Afterward, there's a slight wait period before the app updates on the server-side as well.
The appearance of the new modern UI in a beta version of Slack does have implications though. Namely, this update should arrive on the stable channel of the app sooner than later. So users shouldn't need to update to the beta track for long if they want a cleaner, more useful interface. Once it arrives, this could easily help it secure a position among the best Android apps.