Plotting out interactive flows
No super hero is complete without an origin story. Similarly, no app is complete (or can even begin) without a clear sense of when, how, and why users will interact with the app.
In our overview of plotting out your app, we mentioned some tips to help you get started. Put yourself in a user’s shoes. Imagine them trying to complete a specific task using your app. How do they make first contact?
Here, we'll break down the task of choosing the entry points for interactions with your app.
We'll talk about the different origins your app might take as inspiration before springing forth into action-packed, technicolor communication. Also, we'll give a brief overview of the moves and grooves available to your app once a flow has been kicked off.
First, a primer on what happens during an interaction between user and app:
Our overview of app interactivity contains a more detailed breakdown of this interactive flow, and the potential triggers that apps can act on.
Users can invoke apps by using one of a number of entry points — optional app features that shine a Bat-signal into the interactive skies. Keep reading for a study of these archetypal origins of interactions.
Unlike superheroes, user interactions don't fall from the sky in a spaceship, or get built in a cave with a box of scraps.
Instead, they happen because of the presence of interaction entry points within an app. These entry points allow users to intentionally invoke a specific workflow.
- Shortcuts add options to prominent UI locations in Slack.
- Block Kit interactive components inject interactivity into app surfaces like messages, modals, or Home tabs.
- Slash commands are text commands, which users type into the message box in Slack.
Our overview of interaction entry points contains information about the implementation of these entry points.
When you're planning your Slack app, the question is — which of these entry points is most appropriate for my app?
In some cases, the answer might be more obvious — for example, if you know your audience has a lower familiarity with interactivity, Slash commands may be difficult for them use.
In many cases, the answer could be all of them. Your app can accomplish many different tasks, with each being best suited to a different entry point.
You should also consider the information that each entry point use will deliver to your app. If your app needs to know the full context of user messages to complete actions, message shortcuts will be ideal.
Keep the distant end-goal in sight like a guiding horizon: a user wants to accomplish something with your app. The rest is simply getting there as productively and pleasantly as possible.
Whichever entry points you add, prepare your app by completing our guide to handling user interactions.
The next chapter of our superhero's story continues when a package of information about the interaction arrives. Faster than a speeding bullet, your app will receive an interaction payload and be expected to understand and respond to it.
If you're still prototyping, our app interactivity section will give you important guidance about the entire interactive flow.
Gain new superpowers by reading our overview of app interaction design.