Gigson: How Devcenter Created A Slackbot To Improve User Experience

Square is a Slack community for developers managed by Devcenter. There are over 2500 members who are constantly conversing, sharing ideas and learning how to become better developers. Square is currently the largest online community for developers in sub-Saharan Africa.

One of the major channels on Square is #gigs. It was created for developers and designers to post and apply for jobs. There were a few issues with this channel; firstly, Slack allows for a lot of messages to be delivered at a time which ultimately meant that a couple of days after a message was sent, it got lost in the flood of messages. Secondly, there was the problem of people writing incomplete or bad job descriptions. Gigson was created to solve these problems. It is a web app integrated to a slackbot that organises job posts in #gigs in an easy-to-read format.

Gigson was built by members of the Community and Product team at Devcenter. The Resource team had a chat with them on how they built and implemented the Slackbot for Square;

Osioke Itseuwa

Osioke Itseuwa is the Community Manager at Devcenter and Gigson was his idea. On this project, Osioke worked as the experience designer. The idea to create Gigson was birthed from a simple question; “Why are people joining Square?” He realised that a lot of people were joining Square to find jobs and so he decided to create something that would optimize audience interactions and would make the user experience seamless. In the process of discovering what he could create he met someone from another Slack community where jobs were shared on a Spreadsheet. He checked out the community and saw that the spreadsheet had morphed into something cool; It had a search feature, tabs and filter features. Osioke loved the idea and wanted to create something similar for Square. He then organised meetings with the Product and Marketing teams at Devcenter. During one of their meetings, they decided on the name “Gigson”.

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Gigson is designed to make the user feel like they’re communicating with a person but really a form is being filled. It can be triggered by saying “Hey” or “Hello” or by asking a question. Gigson asks the user six important questions about the job he wants to post.

Collins Iheagwara

Collins is the product manager at Devcenter. He worked as the Product Designer and Project Manager on Gigson. The Slack Botkit was used to generate the data structure of what jobs should look like. He was very particular about building a web page that was straightforward and the design of the page was heavily influenced by real time. Collins worked on the User Interface with Fari, the frontend developer on this project. They decided that Gigson’s webpage could be used as a marketing tool so it was designed to have users redirected to Square to create accounts when they apply for jobs.

Fari Oluwatoyin

Fari worked as the frontend developer on the project. While designing the web page for Gigson, She decided that the most prominent element on the page should be the search feature. The jobs are organised to show job titles, necessary skills and the work structure – full time, remote work, contract etc.

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Because the page is for developers and designers, it is designed to mirror a terminal or text editor so it could be relatable to the users. Text editors and monitors have a minimalist look with a solid colour as the background and a peculiar font type. So she used Space Mono and Circular as the fonts to use for the webpage.

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Kolawole Balogun

Kola, the Chief Technical Officer at Devcenter, worked as a backend and frontend developer on Gigson. For better integration with Slack, he used NodeJS to develop the backend for the application. It was his first time working with NodeJS so he was very excited and also a bit nervous. MongoDB was decided for the database since Gigson would require a lot of data and MongoDB allows for large amounts of data. For the user interface, Angular 4 was implemented. To save all of the data going into Gigson, a JSON file was created for easy maintenance and scalability.

While designing the logic pattern of Gigson, Kola designed the bot to make sure the user has ended a previous conversation before they begin a new one. If a conversation hasn’t ended, Gigson will continue with the most recent conversation.

Building Gigson wasn’t a completely seamless process. The webpage at Gigson.co and the slackbot were developed as a minimum viable product. As usage of the application progresses, the product and community teams at Devcenter will continue to improve it.

 

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