There are a lot of really great concepts for iPhone notifications, but they all seem to stray away from what is the look and feel of iOS. So my idea is pretty simple, I have created a concept using only the existing graphical resources of iOS, short of a few few exceptions. But I still feel that they are in bounds of the visual philosophy.
Let’s get the obvious out of the bag first, the notification system in place today is kind of intrusive. The popups are so in my face that I have pretty much opted out of every notification I can. There is however another way to inform the user of an event such as an incoming message. The app switcher popup isn’t quite as intrusive as the current popup. It would be great to use for notifications.
Note that this popup is smaller then the app switcher and it doesn't grey out the rest of the interface
Today apple use it to display active applications and if you scroll left they show controls for the iPod app. I think there is room for the last notification you received also.
The new Notifications app
The app icon is basically a mash up of the settings icon and the current notifications symbol in settings. The reason for this that I feel that notifications is system service.
When I started thinking about how to improve the notification system I felt almost immediately that Apple is all about apps, so why not make an app that handles this task.
Take Settings for example, one would think that the entrance to this would be more integrated into the system, but in Apples case they view it as just any other app. Therefore you as a user can choose whether this is important to you or not, i.e. noteworthy of a first page placement or even quick launch bar.
Having one app that handles all notifications also reduce the time you have to spend hunting them all in various apps.
Notice that it summarize all the notifications and then present them in the red indicator badge. The great thing about having notifications in an app is that you can move it around just as you can with all other standard apps.
The app itself is very straight forward. Your notifications is structured in three simple views. The first is a list view in order to get an overview. The second is an extended view where you can read the full messages just like in an RSS news feed. And the third is notifications grouped by app, this way if you get 10 mails and 15 Facebook wall posts you can still find your 2 SMS messages quickly.
In all views you can also clear all notifications. Note that this only clears the notification, the actual messages is still there. You can also choose edit and delete specific notifications or groups.
When you press (or touch) any of the specific notifications you will automatically activate the appropriate action. For example:
- A message will show you the message.
- A missed call will call the recipient.
- A program update will bring you to the program page in the Appstore.
- A wall post in Facebook will bring you to that specific wall post thread.
You can’t answer a message directly from the app, because that would simply destroy the purpose of every other communication app and it would also add to complexity of this app.
Settings for notifications is located inside the Settings app where it currently resides. I have a few additions, first of all, better security with the option of not displaying notifications on the lock screen. Right now (4.3), if you get an sms message it will show up on the lock screen in the form of a popup for all to see (if they have direct access to your phone).
Note that Angry birds is the beginning of your app list
I’ve also included the setting of turning off popup notifications for full screen apps. I define a “full screen app” as an app that covers up the operator bar. This usually means games, but could be others also. You can also turn of notifications on a app to app basis, as you can today.
I thought long and hard about notifications on the lock screen. Apple is doing it already, only it’s one at a time and you can’t really act on it (that I know). I felt that the space between the clock and lock bar could be used more effectively. So I started adding more notifications in almost the same style as the app. I took away the time and date to clean up the impression a bit. It’s just glanceable information, and it’s also in chronological order.
These are the four latest unattended notifications.
I was looking at the lock screen and felt that you simply had to be able to act on the individual notifications, but how? Just enabling the ability to click a notification seems dangerous. Pocket calling would increase ten fold 😉 Then it dawned on me, why not slide the app icon in the same way you slide to unlock. This way it’s a reduced risk of accidentally calling your boss at a Friday night.