Inspiration

As a team, we wanted to help promote better workplace relationships and connections--especially since the workplace has been virtual for so long. To achieve this, we created a slack bot to increase the engagement between coworkers through various activities or experiences that can be shared among each other. This will allow team members to form more meaningful relationships which create a better work environment overall. Slack is a great tool for an online work platform and can be used better to increase social connections while also being effective for communicating goals for a team.

What it does

When the Slackbot is added to a workplace on slack, the team is capable of accessing various commands. The commands are used with the / prefix. Some of the commands include:

  • help: To get help
  • game-help : To get game help
  • game-skribble : Provides a link to a skribble.io game
  • game-chess : Provides a link to a chess game
  • game-codenames : Provides a link to a codenames game
  • game-uno : Provides a link to a UNO game
  • game-monopoly : Provides a link to a COVID-19 themed monopoly game
  • memes :Generates randomized memes (for conversation starters with colleagues)
  • virtual-escape : Allows users to see art, monuments, museums, etc (randomized QR codes) through augments reality for a short "virtual escape"
  • mystery: Displays a mystery of the month for colleagues to enjoy and talk about amongst each other

We also have scheduled messages that we incorporated to help automate some processes in the workplace such as:

  • birthday reminders : Used to send an automated message to the channel when it is someone's birthday
  • mystery : Sends out the mystery of the month at beginning of each month

These features on our bot promote engagement between people with the various activities possible.

How we built it

The Bot was designed using the SlackAPI and programmed using python. Using the SlackAPI commands the bot was programmed to increase social interaction and incite more conversations during the Covid-19 remote working regulation. The bot has a variety of commands to help workers engage in conversations with their fellow colleagues. With a wide selection of virtual games to be played during lunch breaks or perhaps take a short relaxing break using the EchoAR generated QR Codes to devel into the world of augmented reality and admire or play with what they are as shown. Workers are also able to request a singular meme from the bot and enjoy a short laugh or spark a funny conversation with others who also see the meme. Overall, the bot was built with the mindset of further enhancing social communication in a fun manner to help those working remotely feel more at ease.

Challenges we ran into

This is the first time anyone from the team had worked with Slack and SlackAPI. There were alot of unfamiliar components and the project as a whole was a big learning experience for the team members. A few minor complications we had run into were mostly working out syntax and debugging code which no errors yet didn't display output properly. Overall, the team enjoyed working with Slack and creating our very first slack bot.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We are proud of all the work that was accomplished in one day! The bot was an interesting challenge for us that can be used throughout our daily lives as well (in our work or team clubs slack workplaces). Some commands we are especially proud of are:

  • virtual-escape since it was able to incorporate echoAR technology. This was something new to us that we were able to successfully integrate into our bot and it has a huge impact on making our bot unique!
  • memes as we were able to figure out a successful way to randomize the images -scheduled messages since they allowed us to branch into making more dynamic bots Overall, we are very proud of all the work that was accomplished and the bot that we created after the countless hours on Stack Overflow! :)

What we learned

We became more familiar with using python in development projects and learned more about creating bots for different applications. We learned a lot of new things through trial and error as well as various youtube videos. As this was our first slack bot, the entire development process was new and challenging but we were able to create a working bot in the end. We want to continue developing bots in the future as there is so much that can be accomplished with them--we barely scratched the surface!

What's next for Slackbot

The Future of slackbot looks bright. With new ideas emerging daily the team looks forward to building upon the social attraction of the bot and incorporating more work intensive themes with perhaps a file manager or an icebreakers for newer employees. Our SlackBot is no where near its end and with enough time it could become a truly wonderful AI for remote workers.

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