App design is as unquestionably tricky as it is competitive; there are just so many aspects that need to be taken into consideration, including one which is too often ignored: notifications.
Notifications serve a very simple purpose: to update app users on any changes made to the service.
Perfectly innocent, but there’s a problem. Phones rarely have just one app installed, and when dozens of services are pinging users with notifications and updates, users’ phones are likely to become overloaded as user themselves become frustrated.
With this in mind, this particular article will cover the considerations you need to make as you create a notification element on your app. Read through our 5 Aspects of User-Friendly Notifications and let us know what you think. As always, your comments are welcome.
The first and most important question you should ask yourself while coming up with your notification system is whether or not you need notifications at all.
Let’s start with errors. A user does not need to know every time a particular application cannot connect to the internet; informing a user is both a waste of his time and a nuisance. However, if the performance of the application depends on the user’s attention to a particular matter, than a notification should pop up. It is crucial to consider the importance from a user’s perspective.
4. Timeliness and Relevance
For this element, you need to consider behavior statistics in reference to users. This data will tell you exactly what kind of notifications are relevant with respect to a particular application – which notifications are regarded by a user, and which are disregarded. Relevance also means that you need to consider timeliness. A timely notification would appear at a time when a user is least likely to disregard it.
One example of this would be to set a time limit on notifications. Late at night, notifications are likely to be ignored.
Customization is an important aspect of notifications, as well as to the application itself. The user must be able to customize notifications in various ways. For example, one should be able to mute them, choose a particular ringtone for a specific type of alert, and select when notifications are muted. The greater the control the user possesses, the happier they will be with your application.
2. Clear Message
The language of your notifications and the geographical area should be in perfect harmony. The message should always be clear and understandable, and short enough to be read without having to open it in a new window.
If a user deems a notification worthy, he’ll tap to open it otherwise swipe to ignore it for later viewing. Make sure that the wording of your notification messages is not frustrating to users. Notifications are the primary means by which an application communicates with the user, and they should be friendly. Brand image matters here and so does the message tone. Stay consistent with both these aspects.
It goes without saying, of course, that spam is a no-go zone.
1. Delivery Method
An application can communicate, via notifications, with the user in various different methods. You can use SMS, e-mail notifications, web notifications, push notifications and even pop-up alerts. Notifications can primarily be divided into two broad categories: product-to-user notifications and user-to-user notifications. Whatever notifications fall into these categories can be prioritized in different ways depending on the type of service your application offers and the reason a particular user uses it.
Consider this as an example of a useful notification: a person using Instragram is interested to know whenever someone uploads a picture with his or her face in it. Another example would be when one of the Facebook friends joins Instagram. A useless notification would be a message popping up from time to time asking the user to review and rate the application. Think of what the application offers to the user and what the applications are. Think from customers’ perspective to set your notifications. That should help.
The Long and the Short of It
When it comes down to it, notifications are a way to increase the user friendliness of your app. At each turn, make sure that your notification system is oriented toward helping the user, not jumping to grab their attention.