The communication interfaces we associated with everything except work – asynchronous video on Snapchat, scrolling videos on TikTok, and casual text messages on iMessage – are now coming to the workplace.
The same interface designs that make communication fun elsewhere on the web are being integrated into office comms because email, Slack, and Microsoft Teams are imperfect.
Email vs. Texts
Think about how long you might let an email go unread vs. a text message. Think about how much more effort and thought go into crafting an email over a text. Email is arduous. Text is casual. The result is that email is not as efficient (in some cases) as it should be.
Spike is an app that turns email into an iMessage-like interface. It organizes your inbox by people and removes filler, such as repeating headers and threads that make emails hard to read and respond to. By turning emails into text messages, it aims to make email more casual and responsive. Instead of being a burden.
It’s also a workplace superapp of sorts, bringing task management, calendar, video chat, and note-taking across teams all into Spike’s text message-like interface.
Group Meetings vs. Snapchat
Video meetings crowd most people’s calendars. Multiple times a day, we’re asked to show our faces for hours on end, only to contribute a couple of words. Snapchat’s video interface is the antidote to this because it breaks the video back and forth into an asynchronous timeline. In other words, you respond on your own time exactly how you want to be heard.
Volley is Snapchat for work. It allows you to create group meetings/chats based on asynchronous videos. In other words, you communicate via brief video messages that don’t require immediate response (as a video call would). This allows teams to communicate at the right speed and time frame without invading entire blocks of time with meetings.
The person who has never sent a Snapchat may find this experience weird. But the people who’ve sent hundreds of Snaps a day for years will be incredibly efficient and effective with Volley. And that’s where the future of workplace comms is heading.
The interface used to be a proprietary feature of all communication channels. It’s what differentiated how you talked in each app. But over the last five years or so, there’s been an aggregation of all modes of digital communication. Think about how similar Instagram and TikTok are. Think about how similar Messenger, iMessage, and Slack are.
It’s as if these communication interfaces are now open-sourced and thus copied across all of our apps. And all that changes is the context the interface exists in.
For example, BeReal is the trending social app of the year. It’s literally just Snapchat in a different context. Their new context is spontaneity. Every day at a different time, everyone is notified simultaneously to capture and share a photo in 2 minutes. No time for filters or posing. Just show what’s real.
I think we’ve reached a point where the ways we communicate digitally are set. We want never-ending timelines. We want to send short videos. And we want casual messaging.
All that’s left to change is the context these interfaces invade. And the workplace is ripe for this communication interface change.