Symphony Blog

Customizing Symphony to Focus on What’s Relevant

Alok Pradhan

Chat applications can get busy, and people are starting to take note (as evidenced by this recent Vox article). Knowing this, one of Symphony’s product objectives is to reduce noise in our platform and allow you to focus on what is most important.

That’s why we developed a number of features -- including Signals, Alerts, Aliases, Colors and Sounds -- to help you customize Symphony, contextualize all of the information contained on the platform, and reduce cognitive overload.

Curious how these work? Here are a few ways I use these to help me work more intelligently:

Tagging and Signals Surface Relevant Content 

Tagging is foundational to Symphony. It allows you to assign topics to content and, in turn, aids the discovery this content. There are two types of tags available to users: one typically used for mission critical content (#tags), and another to enrich messages with financial data ($tags).

Secure applications enabled on Symphony can use tags to transmit information to and from Symphony. They create a seamless medium between your message content and application content. Try hovering on a tag to see the available applications ready at your fingertips!

These tags can also be organized into Signals within Symphony, providing users a way to “subscribe” to one or more topics. For instance, if I am interested in tracking technology trends in consumer hardware I could set up a Signal called “Consumer Hardware Trends”. I would simply hit the “+” button in my Signals tab, enter the appropriate name and subscribe to all content tagged with #consumertech, #hardwaretrends, $AAPL, and $FIT (or any other relevant tags). From then on, when these tags appear in any of my chats in Symphony, that message is also picked up by my “Consumer Hardware Trends” Signal that I can consume at my convenience.

I typically also share my Signals on my profile. This allows my peers at Symphony to reuse them across teams and departments. (Note that the profile Signals page is only visible to users within a firm.)


This is only one example of how a Signal could be helpful. You can create signals for any number of topics. For instance, you could track the movements of all top stocks that interest you, or you could track team updates by including hashtags like #productupdate or #marketingupdate.

Alias, Alerts, Colors and Sounds Help Prioritize Consumption

Aliases, colors, sounds and alerts also allow you to effectively surface important content and respond to it quickly. Rather than focus on specific topics (using Signals and tags), they are designed to help you focus on, contextualize and identify content from key contacts.

These customizations can be set up by visiting a contact’s profile and assigning customizations there. For example:

  • Aliases: You can assign an alias - which means re-naming specific contacts in your Symphony - to help differentiate or explicate certain users. For instance, I could add “VIP” in front of important contacts to ensure I verify critical content before sending it and @mentioning the user. Once an alias is assigned, I can search for a user and @mention them in chats using their alias



  • Colors: You can also assign colors to specific contacts. Associating a color with a contact will change the color of the Chat Room or Direct Chat name in the list of chats, the notification badge and the message background for the specific messages from that person. For instance, I assign a specific color to everyone on my direct team to help me more quickly identify chats that are the most relevant to my work.




  • Sounds: Assigning a sound means that anytime a contact messages you, you will be alerted by the specified tone. I could enable a bell to chime every time my boss messages me to be sure I hear it. Note that the sound would only play, as expected, if I were not already focused on the conversation. These sounds also require that the Mute all sound notifications Setting under Alerts be disabled.




  • Alerts: With alerts, you can place settings around how new messages are displayed within the Symphony platform. Help ID your most important conversations by enabling the “blinking row” setting, which visually differentiates the most pressing conversations from ones that can wait. To ensure important messages are never missed, you can also set up Desktop Alerts for important conversations, like I do. This means that in addition to being flagged on the Symphony platform, you receive a separate desktop notification at the upper right corner of your screen each time there is a new message. I usually reserve this for 1:1 chats to keep noise to a minimum.



By customizing your Symphony platform, you can organize your work communications to tune into what’s relevant for you, which means more efficient, streamlined work.

Want to know more?

For more information on our features or how to set up your Symphony, please contact secure@symphony.com. Or find us @Symphony on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn or at www.symphony.com.

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