Evolving from Ephemeral Messages in Slack

Ephemeral Messages

Please Share is an employee advocacy app specifically designed for Slack. We enable company employees to quickly share and/or engage with approved content directly from Slack and our app does not operate independently of Slack’s platform. 

When setting out to create our solution, we were certainly familiar with Slack, but not necessarily its APIs or how apps could be built to interact with its platform. Needless to say, we had a lot to learn, and that learning continues today.

Ephemeral Messages

An important feature that we initially embraced in Slack was ephemeral messages or temporary messages that go away after a few seconds. Among other things, ephemeral messages enable apps like ours to provide a response to a user based on an action or input that he or she took.

In our case, ephemeral messages were used to confirm that a post someone shared through our app would appear on a particular media channel in a few moments or that they need to sign in to their LinkedIn account, etc. 

These messages were delivered to a specific Slack user where only they could see them. They provide quick confirmation of particular actions.

One Minor Problem

The only challenge for us – and it was just a small trivial detail – was that Slack’s ephemeral messages never seemed to work the way they were intended. We’re not here to raise a big stink about this, it’s just in our experience Slack's ephemeral messages always lingered longer than we (or a user) would want them to.

Rather than disappearing after a few seconds, we often had to do a hard refresh of our Slack app to make them go away. Sometimes, even after restarting the Slack client, the messages would still be there. Again, not a huge deal, but not the best user experience either.

A Simple Solution

To address this situation and to attempt to find a way to show confirmation messages, but not have them unnecessarily build up in a particular Slack channel, one of our engineers devised a very simple alternative solution – a dismiss button. Mind-blowing, right?

Well, no. But when it comes to trying to optimize the experience of a user when interacting with our app – on a platform that we don’t fully control – it turned out to be a perfect adjustment to keep things humming along.

Today, Please Share still delivers short confirmation messages to each user based on an action(s) he or she has taken, but we no longer rely on Slack to remove messages in a timely manner.

Example confirmation message in Slack with dismiss button.

With the dismiss button, your team members can now quickly delete confirmation messages in Slack – all with minimal effort.