Can a Scottish startup give uber popular enterprise collaboration tools like Slack a run for their money? 

"Slack doesn’t work," Graeme Bodys, the founder of four-year-old nooQ told CMSWire.

Glasgow-based nooQ just won cool tool and cool feature awards — for the second consecutive year — at the Social Now conference in Europe over competitors like IBM ConnectionsAtlassian and MangoApps

“We were absolutely completely blown away,” Bodys said.

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Through color-coded bubbles of varying sizes based on importance and popularity, the application shows users what needs attention at a glance, Bodys explained. Users don't have to scroll, read through messages or track notifications to cut through workplace noise. As the company puts it, “Just nooQ it.”

The team spent about eight months deciding on the name, playing around with variations of noo-Question before landing on the concept of noosphere. The team liked the idea of an atmosphere of collective ideas, Bodys said.

Bodys calls it a more workable alternative to Slack, which he said overwhelms users with "a lot of messages that are not relevant."

Most collaboration tools take one of two approaches, he said. They use social media or Facebook-style news feeds like Yammer or use a chat interface like Slack. Either way, users end up with giant streams of messages with limited options for filtering or finding answers when they need them.

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Organize Work With Questions, Ideas & Surveys

NooQ organizes posts into bubbles of three colors: one color represents questions, another represents ideas and yet a third mark surveys. Polls and surveys encourage feedback in teams, while idea posts facilitate innovation and collaboration across departments, Bodys said. Questions live in a searchable archive so they don’t get asked again.

Users can also sort posts by highest trending or deadlines in another view. Bubbles get larger as their deadlines near. It also supports the standard features of chat, notifications and search.

A unique feature called volume control lets users adjust on a sliding scale how much they want to hear about a certain subject or from certain people, he noted. Turn up the volume and focus on the projects at hand and mute the rest, and those bubbles will adjust in size according to settings.

Looking Ahead

NooQ is notable for its simplicity. Its colorful circles guide the eyes to priority tasks and topics, rather than running streams or feeds of content without any sort of organization or ranking.

It’s easy to see why vendors are eager to integrate with the collaboration platform. Bodys says a potential partnership with IBM may be on the way, as well as development on its API to connect with others like Yammer or Jive.

Bodys and his team of seven are also working on designing another dashboard view with squares and cards instead of the bubbles. In coming months, nooQ will look at adding features that include endorsement and influence ranking, similar to the concept on LinkedIn, and more support for files and folders, Bodys said.

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