When it comes to online collaboration, there is no doubt that both Slack and Microsoft Teams are two of the best services that any company can choose. With the equipment included in Office 365, we have already explained why we believe it is the best of both. We have also delved into the various applications and integrations available with the two services, as well as the differences in price and privacy.
But what about the most important of all? How does Microsoft Teams look and feel different from Slack? and which one is better? In our final entry in the Teams vs Slack series, we will now analyze the differences in the user interface.
Design and main design
Both Microsoft Teams and Slack feature a vertical-style panel design. With Teams, this design is quite busy. Slack departs from that and is a bit more simplistic and visually efficient. Here we explain how and why.
Starting with the teams, one of the first things you'll notice is that there is a search bar at the top. This differs from what is offered in Slack, as it also hosts shortcuts for messages and people. Then, follow an area below the team's channel name. Then you will see "Tabs" for Conversations, Files, OneDrive and any other application added by an administrator. Similar features are found in Slack, as we will see later.
Continuing, in Teams, there is also a dedicated area on the left center side to navigate through different Teams channels. The channels listed in this area will glow black when there are unread messages. It should be noted that this list of Teams channels is not foldable. Unless the open Microsoft Teams window is set to "mini" mode, this bar will always be visible. That can be quite annoying for some users who like simplicity.
Finally, there is an additional navigation bar at the far left of the Equipment window. This is how you can jump between activities, chat, computers, calendar, calls, files, applications, help and other applications.
Now, there is Slack. The main navigation bar, known as the sidebar, runs along the left end of the Slack window. Unlike equipment, this channel list is more compact and is out of the user's reach. There are many customization options available in the configuration, as we will see later. The names of the channels in the bar will even light up in white every time there is an unread message, or will show a red (1) if it has been mentioned or @ hurt.
There is also a separate mini search bar titled "Go to" that allows users to search for content and move between the Slack areas they have previously visited. However, unlike computers where the search bar is constantly universal in the user interface, the Slack search bar only appears in Channels and Direct Messages. , are two buttons dedicated to unread messages on any channel, and an area for any thread that the user can be a part of. Then, follow an area for direct messages and another area for applications. Users can add channels and start direct messages with a "+" sign, which is different from the equipment where adding channels involves pressing a menu (…).
Finally, Slack also presents some buttons that run under the top of the window, near the name of a channel or the person with whom a user is chatting. These buttons are interested in "tabs" on computers. There is a button for calls (only available in direct messages), information, settings, activity, featured messages and downloads. From the information menu, you can view the shared files and channel members, as well as the highlights. This ability to appear as members in a channel is not as accessible in Teams.
Customization and colors  Microsoft loves to give its users customization options in Windows 10 , but with Teams, customization options are a bit limited compared to Slack. Slack offers many more ways to modify the appearance of the application, as we will see here.
With teams, there are only three theme options. The default value is a clear theme, but there are also options for a dark theme. For users who need assistive technologies, Microsoft Teams also presents a high contrast theme.
Slack, on the other hand, is fully customizable themes You can choose between the classic eggplant theme, a lighter Hoth theme or a green and interesting theme by Choco Mint. Like the teams, there are also accessible themes and even an option for a dark mode. For further customization, you can create your own theme and share it with others.
The messaging system, threads and notifications
Regarding the differences in messaging, Teams and Slack have group chats, interlaced conversations and private messages. Users on both platforms can also pin messages, edit messages, mention users and more. However, Microsoft Teams is a bit more sophisticated when it comes to messages.
Why? With Microsoft Teams, you have complete formatting options when creating a message. That includes a bulleted list, font color, insertion of links, quotes, headers and more. Slack simply limits it to standard text.
Upon reaching notifications, both Teams and Slack will be integrated with the Windows 10 Action Center. However, Teams has an Activity area Special in the left navigation bar to see all your notifications, regardless of whether you have read them or not. With Slack, there is no notification area. However, the Show activity button will allow you to see the reactions of the messages.
Finally, there are threads. The thread system allows you to respond directly to any message posted on an open channel, keeping the channel organized. In Teams, threads are how you respond to a single message, but it is a feature that is not available in private messages in Teams. It keeps things efficient and clean.
However, with Slack, the threads are further apart. To create a thread, you must hover over the message and click on the "create thread" button. Then you will see that the thread opens in a window on the left. It is rarely used in my other work, but it is something that is recommended to be used here on OnMSFT.
Reactions, emojis and GIFS
Everyone loves to react to messages, and this is a feature available in both Teams and Slack. . Teams limits you to some reactions, including thumbs up, love, laughter, sadness and anger. However, with Slack, the possibilities are endless. You can react with an endless amount of emojis. And, if your company allows it, you can even react with custom emojis. This is something that is not yet available in Teams, but Teams will allow you to create personalized memes and stickers.
But all is not lost for Teams. With Slack, using GIFS is a bit complicated, since you'll need to install an application and then use keyboard commands to insert GIFS into a chat. With Teams, you just need to click on the GIF button below the text bar to get started. Simplicity at its best!
It's a tie between Slack and Teams
At the end of the day, both Slack and Teams have different user interfaces. For those who like a busy user interface, Teams is the way to go. There are buttons and menus everywhere and you can format text, send GIFS more easily and more. Then, for simplicity, there is Slack. In terms of design, each of the collaboration services has its own advantages and disadvantages. Despite CEO conversations and exaggerations, it is up to you to choose which one is the best, but remember, Teams is already included in Office 365 subscriptions!
Further reading: Microsoft Teams, Office 365, Slack