What I’m really tryna say is
The key things that make Discord and Slack both stand out as a messaging service is that everything is left aligned, and messages from users don’t take up a lot of space. The message text design here is more or less the same. Profile icon on the left, name on top, and message below. Nothing extra. This way you can facilitate large group chats and quickly scroll to read a lot of messages. Microsoft Teams fails horribly on this front; everything is threaded which makes things hard to read, and messages all have a container, which means you need extra padding. Facebook Messenger along with other social media chats like Instagram and Tinder, make a little bit more sense for one on one communication, but in the end the left and right format promotes a slower communication style.
Sending images in a chat for Discord and Slack is exactly the way I want it. I just want to be able to paste the image, add some message if I want, and then confirm before I send it. I also like that I can edit or delete my messages later, and the UI for that is intuitive.
As a product in general, Discord wins by a landslide for me because of all their extra features like instant calls, powerful search tools, roles, and Discord’s attention to their demographic. The only features that Discord doesn’t have over Slack, from a business perspective, is threaded conversations and drawing during screen share. I do think the threaded conversations have been helpful, but my issue is that they often get lost. To counter for this there is an “All Threads” channel at the top, but that too can get crazy sometimes. Some servers with thousands of members have messages sent so quickly that if they were threaded I would be completely overwhelmed. Imagine seeing Twitch chat, threaded. This implies that threading conversations would be best for slow to medium speed messages. But if it’s really that slow, then do we actually need to thread? I’m a bit torn on whether or not this feature is necessary if Discord were to ever make an enterprise edition.
Discord also has really good screen share. You can even share multiple screens at once, and view them side by side if you want.
The feature that Discord doesn’t have, which I think is one of the coolest I’ve seen, is the ability to share your screen and for the other person who is viewing, to draw on your screen. However, it makes sense that gamers wouldn’t need this.
The overall user experience for Discord is superb, and with all the features they have it actually makes Slack feel limiting. The great thing is that the features don’t make the experience overwhelming. You can always choose to use only the bare bones, or decide to add more permissions, roles and bots.
I can’t comment on the security on a development level, but Discord users have extremely granular control over servers that they admin, and messages are HTTPS encrypted.
At the end of the day, I really just wanted to share some of Discord’s great design and user experience in their product from the eyes of a designer. From the numbers, they have more users, more engagement, more free stuff, more features, and less employees to deliver such a great product that really speaks to the needs of the demographic. I can’t see why they can’t make a business enterprise version suited to businesses, and completely blow Slack out of the market. I really hope they do, because I would switch instantly.