Two team communication solutions that most people know about are Discord and Slack. While Slack has long been a favorite for business use cases, Discord is more known for providing an optimized voice communication experience that is popular with gamers. Both Slack and Discord can be successfully employed for a variety of use cases, and businesses use both tools regularly to ease team communications.
In this blog post, we take a look at these two solutions, and analyze their strengths and weaknesses, focusing on special features and abilities. This information should make it easier for you to choose between the two, although you should keep in mind the aptness for your particular use case.
Slack and Discord Overview
Both Slack and Discord feature a channel-based system of communication. With Discord, you use one login to access all your servers, while with Slack, you can have multiple workspaces which require separate login credentials. This can be good for keeping work responsibilities categorized and separately arranged. To this end, another Slack feature lacking in Discord is threads. You can directly reply to a message in any channel to create a separate thread. This can keep conversations organized, prevent clutter, and make it easy for you to retrieve and consult old communication.
Slack Voice Calling
When it comes to audio communication, Slack operates similarly to any standard voice calling and conferencing solution. You can initiate a call with any user on a particular channel using the call button. Channel-wide calls are also possible but are only available in the paid tier. You can create a shareable link for channel calls, and a maximum of 15 participants can join.
Discord Voice Calling
With Discord, voice channels are separate from other channels. The voice communication experience is simple, seamless, and intuitive as the voice service runs in the background and remains active. Voice channels can accommodate up to 99 participants at the same time. One interesting feature is “push to talk” which allows the microphone to capture audio only while a button is pressed. It can also operate automatically. Therefore, you have the option of hands-free operation or choosing to be heard only when you want.
Slack and Discord Video Calling
As far as video conferencing is concerned, this is possible on both platforms. On Discord, you can initiate this by starting a group DM and then calling on the video chat feature. In Slack, the process is the same as initiating voice calls. Both platforms offer you the option of screen sharing during calls but Slack provides a markup option that allows you to annotate, highlight, and take notes.
One aspect that is important in most workflows is integration with third-party services. This is where you find a wide range of options with Slack. There is a huge library of almost 1000 native integrations that allow you to bring in connections with popular solutions like Google Drive, Google Docs, Office 365, Trello, Zoom, and more. These native integrations can help bring in important features and functionality according to what you want to accomplish with the platform.
Discord has very few native integrations and most of them are geared towards the gaming community, although you can find helpful integrations like Skype, Reddit, Facebook, Twitter, and Spotify. However, a much wider range of integrations can be brought to the table through the use of a unique feature – Discord bots. Bots are integrations that are developed by the community. Bots can serve a wide variety of functions and can be invited to any server. Apart from bringing more integrations, bots can also moderate communication channels and automate simple, repetitive tasks.
Both Slack and Discord employ modern, minimalistic UIs which are pleasing to the eye and deliver most of their information and settings in a single screen. However, there is a lot more under the hood with Slack and you might have to navigate through a large tree of options to reach specific settings. Also, it is important to remember that Slack has a lot of added functionality. Depending on whether those functions are central to your workflow, you might consider Slack to be more user-friendly.
Discord Wins in Voice Calling
If you are looking for seamless audio communication without hassle, Discord is a clear choice. Since it has been constructed to facilitate easy voice communication, the integrated features can be used to create hands-free or low-intrusion voice communication workflows that can be perfect for certain use cases.
Slack Wins for Business Messaging
If you are looking for a collaborative platform for business messaging, Slack is a better alternative for many. It has robust file sharing options and the presence of channels and threads can keep conversations organized, easy to find, and easy to search. Slack also gives you 1GB of file sharing with no limit on file types while you can only share audio and video with Discord.
Price is one area where Discord is hard to beat. Most of its functionality, including text messaging, audio communication, video calls, and screen sharing, are available entirely free of cost. This means that you can communicate with a very large number of people and teams using Discord without having to pay anything on top of the free plan. They do have a paid tier called Discord Nitro, which brings higher file upload limits and high-definition audio and video chat to the table. For one Discord server, the cost of Nitro is $9.99 monthly or $99.99 for a whole year.
Slack, on the other hand, can be cheap or expensive depending on your requirements. A limited number of features are available free. However, to get access to a comprehensive portfolio of features, you need the standard paid plan that typically costs $6.67 per month for every user. There are several higher tiers of pricing that bring more features, like multiple workspaces and DLP. The larger your team, the more you pay for Slack and its features.
With clear strengths in different areas, Slack and Discord are two very different products which focus on different features. For a business environment, Slack has a lot of dedicated solutions and comes with complete security compliance. Its large number of integrations makes many workflows possible. On the other hand, Discord is hard to beat when it comes to its free functionality and its voice communication features. Keep your requirements in mind and choose wisely.