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Sick Design: Avalanche of Messages

Sick Design: Notificatum Overwhelmus

(Latin: “Avalanche of Messages”)

“This is all wrong. The correct flow was in that email we sent a while back.” Uhhh… ok. After 40+ minutes of searching through your inbox and Slack messages, you get a text from the client. Turns out it’s in the text message history. Never. Text. Your client. And bury them in an avalanche of messages.

COMMON SYMPTOMS: 

  • Lost or missing email attachments
  • Overly callused fingertips
  • The sound of an incoming email gives you heart palpitations
  • Your inbox has more folders in it than the Back to School aisle of Target
  • Tagging messages becomes irrelevant because you have too many tags


CAUSES: 


TREATMENTS:

Companies spend billions of dollars each year on tools, services and networks to improve the way they communicate with each other. But using too many tools really doesn’t help anyone. You end up being totally confused. And worse? Important insights and bits of feedback are easily lost in the process

The easiest remedy: agree on one central medium for leaving and requesting feedback. If your team can agree to this, it solves half the problem with an avalanche of messages.

Tracking Feedback in One Tool

The other half is it can be difficult to keep track of feedback even with a single medium or tool. 

When your Slack or email thread goes back for weeks or months, finding that one message or idea can be nearly impossible.

Using folders and pinning or archiving messages can help if your team is diligent enough to do this regularly. But when a deadline is coming up or some other high stress period, this type of effort usually gets neglected.