Slack vs Discord Which One Should You Use

Slack vs Discord: Which One Should You Use?


Samarpit Nasa
By Samarpit Nasa | Last Updated on April 19th, 2024 7:52 am

In a rapidly evolving digital landscape, the way we communicate and collaborate has undergone a significant transformation. The emergence of virtual workspaces and online communities has highlighted the need for effective and adaptable communication tools. Among the plethora of options available today, Slack and Discord stand out as frontrunners, each carving out its own niche in the realm of digital communication.

The choice between Slack and Discord is more than just selecting a messaging app; it's about choosing a platform that aligns with the specific workflow automation needs and culture of your team or community. This decision can have far-reaching implications on the efficiency, engagement, and overall dynamics of your group.

What is Slack?

Slack stands as a prominent figure in the realm of business communication tools, distinguished by its versatility and efficiency in facilitating workplace interactions. Initially launched in 2013, Slack has rapidly evolved into a fundamental asset for businesses of all sizes, from small startups to large corporations. Its design is primarily focused on enhancing productivity and streamlining communication in professional settings.

Core Functionality

At its core, Slack provides a platform for organized chat rooms known as channels. These channels can be created for various purposes, such as specific projects, departments, or even casual conversations. This organization method allows for easy navigation and helps keep discussions topic-focused and accessible.

Direct Messaging and Group Conversations

Beyond channels, Slack offers direct messaging, enabling private conversations between individuals or selected groups. This feature is crucial for discussing sensitive information or for conversations that don't require wider visibility.

User Interface and Experience

Slack's user interface is designed to be intuitive and user-friendly, ensuring that team members can adapt quickly and start communicating effectively with minimal learning curve. The platform is accessible via desktop applications for Windows, macOS, and Linux, as well as mobile apps for iOS and Android, ensuring constant connectivity.

What is Discord?

Discord, initially a platform favored by gamers for its seamless voice communication, has grown into a multifaceted communication tool that transcends its original audience. Today, it's not just a haven for gamers but also a popular choice for various online communities and some business groups. Its core functionalities, direct messaging and group conversations, and its user interface and experience, all contribute to its widespread appeal.

Core Functionality

At its core, Discord is designed for creating and managing communities, known as "servers," which can be subdivided into text and voice "channels." These channels cater to different topics or activities, allowing for organized and topic-specific conversations. Voice channels are particularly notable for their high-quality, low-latency communication, making real-time discussions and collaborations seamless.

Direct Messaging and Group Conversations

Direct messaging on Discord allows for private conversations between users. These can be one-on-one or among a small group, providing a space for more personal or focused discussions outside of the public channels. Group conversations can be quickly formed without creating a separate server, making it easy to have ad-hoc discussions or meetings. Users can easily mention specific members in a conversation to grab their attention, using the '@' symbol.

User Interface and Experience

Discord's user interface is designed with a focus on simplicity and functionality, featuring a dark color scheme that's easy on the eyes, especially for users who spend a lot of time on the platform. The layout is intuitive, with servers listed on the left, channels within a server displayed in a sidebar, and the main content area showing the selected channel's messages.

Key Features of Slack

Slack has become a staple in many business environments due to its comprehensive set of features designed to enhance communication and collaboration. Here's a more detailed look at its key features:

Organized Channels for Different Topics


  • Topic-Centric Channels: Slack allows users to create channels for specific topics, projects, or teams. This organization helps keep conversations focused and relevant.
  • Private and Public Channels: Users can set up both public channels for everyone and private channels for confidential discussions.
  • Channel Customization: Each channel can be customized with its own set of rules, topics, and even integrations, making it highly adaptable to different team needs.

Direct Messaging and Group Chats


  • One-on-One Conversations: Slack facilitates private conversations between team members through direct messaging.
  • Group Messaging: Users can create group chats for smaller team discussions or cross-departmental communication.
  • Mention Notifications: Slack's mention system ensures that users can draw attention to specific members in a conversation, improving response times.

Advanced Search Capabilities


  • Powerful Search: Slack's search feature allows users to quickly find messages, files, and even content within files.
  • Search Filters: Users can refine searches by date, user, channel, and other filters, making it easier to locate specific information.
  • Searchable History: Even in the free version, Slack offers a searchable history of the most recent 10,000 messages, ensuring that important information is not lost.

Key Features of Discord

Here's a detailed look at Discord’s key features:

Voice Channels for Real-Time Discussion

Discord's voice channels are a standout feature, allowing users to join and leave voice chat rooms without the need to set up a call. This feature is particularly useful for large groups and communities where members can jump into conversations as they please. The voice quality is generally high, and there are options for adjusting individual user volumes, which is a boon for managing large groups.

Video Conferencing and Screen Sharing

Discord supports video calls and screen sharing, not just in direct messages but also in server channels. This feature is versatile, allowing for everything from showing gameplay to conducting live tutorials. The video quality is commendable, and the ability to simultaneously share screens and engage in video chat makes it a powerful tool for both casual and professional interactions.

Robust Community Management Tools

Discord excels in community management with features like role assignments, custom emojis, and extensive moderation tools. Server administrators can create roles with specific permissions, making it easier to manage large and diverse groups. Moderation tools include kick, ban, and mute options, which are essential for maintaining a healthy community environment.

Customizable Server Setup

Each Discord server can be highly customized to suit the needs of different groups. Administrators can create multiple channels, both text and voice, under various categories. This level of customization allows for organized and topic-specific discussions, making it easy for users to navigate large servers and find conversations relevant to their interests.

Slack vs Discord: How to Compare Them

Here is a comprehensive comparison between Slack and Discord:

  1. Pricing
  2. Here is a pricing comparison between Slack and Discord:

    Slack

    1. Slack Free
    2. Cost: $0

      Features:

      • Search up to 10,000 of your team’s most recent messages
      • 10 integrations with other apps like Google Drive, Office 365
      • One-on-one voice and video calls
      • File sharing capabilities

    3. Slack Standard
    4. Cost: $6.67 per person/month (billed annually) or $8 per person/month (billed monthly)

      Features:

      • Unlimited message archive
      • Unlimited app integrations
      • Google sign-on
      • Group voice and video calls for up to 15 participants
      • Secure collaboration with outside organizations or guests

    5. Slack Plus
    6. Cost: $12.50 per person/month (billed annually) or $15 per person/month (billed monthly)

      Features:

      • All features in Standard
      • 99.99% guaranteed uptime SLA
      • User provisioning and de-provisioning
      • Real-time Active Directory sync with OneLogin, Okta, and Ping
      • 20GB file storage per team member

    7. Slack Enterprise Grid
    8. Cost: Custom pricing

      Features:

      • All features in Plus
      • HIPAA compliance
      • Unlimited workspaces with centralized administration
      • Advanced security, compliance, and integrations
      • 1TB (or more) of file storage per team member

    Discord

    1. Discord Free
    2. Cost: $0

      Features:

      • Unlimited message history
      • Video conferencing for up to 8 people
      • 8 MB limit on file uploads
      • Screen sharing
      • Access to public servers

    3. Discord Nitro
    4. Cost: $9.99/month or $99.99/year

      Features:

      • All features in Free
      • 100 MB file upload limit
      • HD video for streaming and screen sharing
      • Server boosts for improved server functionality
      • Custom Discord tags
      • Animated emojis and ability to use custom emojis everywhere

    5. Discord Nitro Basic
    6. Cost: $2.99 per month

      Features:

      • Increased file upload limit (more than Free, less than Nitro)
      • Some server boost benefits
      • Custom emojis
      • HD video

  3. Interface

  4. Slack

    Slack's interface is tailored for professional use. It features a clean, minimalist design that emphasizes productivity and organization. The color scheme and layout are designed to reduce visual clutter, making it easier for users to focus on their conversations and work.

    Channels and direct messages are neatly organized in a sidebar, making navigation intuitive. Users can easily switch between different conversation threads, track mentions, and manage notifications. Slack allows users to customize their sidebar, prioritize channels, and even theme their workspace for a personalized experience.

    Discord

    Discord's interface is more relaxed and gamer-centric. It features a darker color scheme, which is popular in gaming communities and reduces eye strain during extended use. The interface is designed with a focus on voice channels. This ease of access to voice communication encourages spontaneous conversations and community engagement.

    Discord organizes conversations into servers and channels within those servers. This structure is ideal for community building, where different topics or groups can have their dedicated spaces. The platform integrates seamlessly with various forms of media, making it easy to share images, videos, and links directly in the chat.

  5. Text Communication

  6. Slack: Structured and Professional

    Slack's approach to text communication is meticulously designed for professional settings. Here's how:

    • Channels for Organization: Slack allows users to create channels for specific topics, projects, or teams. This structure ensures that conversations remain focused and relevant.
    • Threaded Messages: To keep discussions clear and prevent clutter, Slack offers threaded messages. Users can reply directly to a specific message, making it easier to follow conversations.
    • Advanced Search: Slack's powerful search functionality allows users to find specific messages, files, or conversations quickly, which is invaluable in a professional context where time is crucial.
    • Rich Formatting and Snippets: Slack supports rich text formatting, enabling users to highlight important information. Code snippets are particularly useful for teams in software development, as they allow for sharing and discussing code directly within the chat.
    • Status Updates and Mentions: Users can set their status to indicate availability and use mentions to draw attention to specific team members, enhancing the efficiency of communication.

    Discord: Casual and Community-Focused

    Discord's text communication, while versatile, leans more towards informal and community-driven interactions:

    • Open Channel Dynamics: Unlike Slack, Discord's channels are often open, encouraging free-flowing conversations that are more casual and less structured.
    • Role-Based Permissions: Discord allows for detailed role-based permissions within servers, which is particularly useful for large communities where managing access and moderation is key.
    • Emojis and Reactions: Discord heavily incorporates the use of custom emojis and reactions, which add a playful and engaging element to the communication, resonating well with community members.
    • Integrated Bots: Discord servers often utilize bots for a variety of purposes, from moderating chat to providing fun and interactive experiences for community members.
    • Pinning and Highlighting Messages: While Discord also allows pinning important messages, its approach is less formal and more about highlighting interesting or popular content within the community.

  7. Audio Calls

  8. Slack

    Slack's approach to audio calls is tailored more towards professional and business-oriented environments. In its free version, Slack focuses on one-on-one audio calls, which is a fundamental feature for direct communication between team members. This functionality is particularly useful for quick discussions, impromptu meetings, or when text-based communication isn't sufficient.

    For teams that require more advanced audio call capabilities, Slack's paid plans offer additional features. These include group calls, which can accommodate more participants, making it suitable for team meetings or collaborative sessions. The audio quality in Slack is generally high, ensuring clear communication, which is crucial in a professional setting.

    Discord

    Discord, on the other hand, was designed with a strong emphasis on group voice communication, making it an ideal platform for large groups and communities. This focus is evident in both its free and paid versions. The platform allows users to create multiple voice channels within a server, each dedicated to different topics or groups. This setup is particularly beneficial for communities or teams that need to segment their conversations into different streams.

    One of the standout features of Discord's audio calls is the ability to handle a large number of participants simultaneously without significant loss in audio quality. This capability makes it a go-to choice for community events, gaming sessions, or any scenario where group discussions are frequent and involve many participants.

  9. Video Calls

  10. Slack

    In the free version, Slack offers one-on-one video calls, which is sufficient for quick face-to-face discussions or check-ins. Paid versions of Slack allow for group video calls, essential for team meetings and collaborative sessions.

    Screen-sharing is available even in the free version, enhancing the utility of video calls for presentations and collaborative work. Higher-tier plans include features like recording calls, which can be invaluable for keeping records of meetings or for those who couldn't attend in real-time.

    Discord

    Discord's approach to video calls is less formal and more suited for casual conversations and community interactions. All users, including those on the free plan, can participate in group video calls, making it accessible for larger groups.

    Unique to Discord, the 'Go Live' feature allows users to stream their gameplay or screen to a small audience, which is particularly popular among gaming communities. Even in the free version, Discord offers high-quality video, which is a significant draw for users who prioritize video and audio quality.

  11. File Sharing

  12. Slack: Comprehensive File Sharing

    Slack's file sharing capabilities are robust, making it a strong contender for businesses and professional environments where file sharing is frequent and diverse in file types.

    • Free Plan Limitations: In the free version, Slack limits the total storage space, which can be quickly consumed if large files are frequently shared.
    • Paid Plan Enhancements: With paid plans, Slack significantly increases file storage capacity. This is crucial for businesses that rely on extensive documentation and need to access older files regularly.
    • File Search and Management: Slack excels in file management. Users can easily search for files across all channels and direct messages. This feature becomes more powerful with the advanced search options in paid plans.
    • File Types and Preview: Slack supports a wide range of file types and offers previews for common file formats like PDFs, Word documents, and images, facilitating quick reviews without needing to download files.
    • Integration with Cloud Storage Services: Slack integrates seamlessly with popular cloud storage services like Google Drive, Dropbox, and Box. This allows users to share files from these services directly in Slack, enhancing the file-sharing experience and storage capabilities.

    Discord: Basic File Sharing with Nitro Enhancements

    Discord's file sharing is more basic compared to Slack but still covers the essential needs, especially for communities and casual use.

    • Free Plan Limitations: Discord’s free version allows file sharing but with a lower limit (8 MB per file). This is generally adequate for sharing images and small documents but can be restrictive for larger files.
    • Nitro Plan Enhancements: Upgrading to Discord Nitro increases the file upload limit to 100 MB, which is a significant improvement and suitable for larger images, PDFs, and even short video clips.
    • File Management: Discord's file management is less sophisticated than Slack's. While you can share files in different channels and direct messages, searching for and managing these files is not as streamlined.
    • Focus on Casual Sharing: Discord’s file sharing is designed with a focus on casual and social interactions. It's more about sharing quick images, memes, or short clips rather than extensive documentation or professional files.
    • No Direct Integration with Cloud Storage Services: Unlike Slack, Discord does not offer direct integrations with cloud storage services. Users need to upload files directly or share links from cloud storage platforms.

Slack: Pros and Cons


Pros

  • Highly organized for business use
  • Extensive integrations with business tools
  • Advanced search and file sharing capabilities

Cons

  • Can be expensive for larger teams
  • May be more than needed for casual or community-based groups

Discord: Pros and Cons


Pros

  • Free version is very robust
  • Ideal for voice and video communication in large groups
  • User-friendly for community building

Cons

  • Less structured for business use
  • Limited business integrations

Popular Slack Integration


Popular Discord Integration


Conclusion

Choosing between Slack and Discord depends on your specific needs. For businesses looking for a structured, professional communication tool with extensive integrations, Slack is the better choice. However, if you're building a community or need a platform more focused on voice and video communication, Discord offers a compelling, cost-effective solution.

Both Slack and Discord have evolved to offer unique features catering to their target audiences. For developers, the choice might lean towards Slack for its integrations and organizational features, but Discord shouldn't be discounted for its community engagement strengths. Ultimately, the decision of Slack vs Discord for business or community hinges on the specific requirements and preferences of your team or community.

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Samarpit Nasa

Content Team Lead at Appy Pie