TidyBot & Simple Mode
Enhancing focus and channel organization in Slack for users with symptoms of neurodivergence.
Hannah Glazebrook (Senior Accessibility Expert)
Lola Famulegun
Swathi Ram
Binta Moncur
Zelia Liu
Jahnavi Kolakaluri
My role
Assisted in conducting user interviews and contextual inquiries. Participated in ideation, designed wireframes, visuals and final UI prototypes. Facilitated discussions on research findings to design decisions.
Figma, FigJam, Qualtrics, Dovetail
3 months and on-going
What is Slack?
Slack is workplace communication tool. A Slack user can message a coworker in the workplace directly through direct messages, or a team through Channels. Because it is in the workplace, there are also tools in Slack to prioritize, plan projects, and search, and file sharing. etc.
Why did we choose Slack?
This is a self initiated project. We chose Slack as our platform as there were many articles and threads online on how ADHD users found Slack difficult to use.
problem space
Despite increased adoption of online workplaces such as Slack post pandemic, there seems to be something about Slack’s interface that is exacerbating ADHD symptoms.
These symptoms include difficulty focusing, sensory overload and task management challenges on the platform.
Research findings summary
2 Expert Interviews, 5 User Interviews & Contextual Inquiries revealed that ADHD users found Slack difficult to use because:
Despite the presence of helpful features, users are not sure how to find and use them.
5/5 participants had “Aha” moments during contextual inquiry.
Participants feel the interface is hard to navigate and digest.
2/5 participants expressed decision fatigue and information overload.
Users have too many channels and DMs, it’s too many to scroll through and gets frustrating.
5/5 participants discussed channels as an area that needs to be optimized.
Guides the user through a feature and makes them aware of benefits.
Simplified UI to Reduce Cognitive Strain.
Effective Channel Management
TidyBot, and inbuilt assistant that automates and recommends channel categories based on user behavior.
Guides users to manage and reduce sidebar clutter through CTAs, text, and highlighting key parts of the interface.
Toggle to simple mode via TidyBot to reduce sidebar clutter during times of high productivity.
Slack recommended simple mode, notifies mentions and DMs, channels shown based on user behavior.
Customizable simple mode, users can set notifications and choose channels they want to view in Simple mode.
user’s thoughts and attitudes
Evaluation conducted with 5 Slack users self-report focus, motivation, and sensory challenges, specifically tied to ADHD. 1-1 Sessions were conducted remote and in-person by guiding users through tasks and collecting feedback post-task completion.
and here’s how we got there
01 research
Research Methods & Goals
Domain Knowledge & Tools
Understanding Users
Understanding the Product
🔬 Expert Interviews
To identify the most suitable tools and resources, and get guidance and proof on findings.
🗣️ User Interviews
Gather insights into the experiences, needs, and practices of neurodivergent individuals in workplace settings.
💻 Contextual Inquiries
Observe firsthand how users with ADHD use Slack in the a work/school context.
📊 Comparative Analysis
Understand Slack as a platform and it’s ecosystem. Assess the strengths and weaknesses of existing technologies that enhance focus.
My Role
🔬 Expert Interviews
🗣️ User Interviews
💻 Contextual Inquiries
📊 Comparative Analysis
02 define
Synthesis via Coding on Dovetail
Setting Design Implications
03 ideation
Participated in Crazy 8’s and two prominent ideas that met the design principles were identified.
04 design
First Wireframe Iteration
I played an active role in defining interactions, shaping user flows, and creating wireframes. After delving into the details and assessing feasibility, we decided to merge the concepts of Tidy Bot and Simple Mode for our next steps.
05 User feedback
Conducted a feedback sessions on the first iteration of wireframes with the goal to understand to what extent the solutions solves user needs identified. Then iterated the designs to solve for the pain points uncovered during these sessions.
final screens
As we created the final screens, we faced difficulties adapting our wireframes to the Slack UI design system. Because we weren't working with Slack directly, we lacked guidance on optimizing our design for the system. Despite this challenge, we recognized the importance of aligning with the mental model of a Slack user. To address this, we explored UI toolkits on Figma's community and followed steps to grasp Slack's design guidelines.
it was a pleasant surprise when SlACK’s REDESIGN Was Released!
1. Inclusive design leads to universal solutions
2. Advocate for user needs while also understanding technology limitations and design tradeoffs

3. To root design solutions in user feedback and research