Notification Overload

11 Nov 2015

Notifications Overload

Its come to my attention, lately, that I find my self checking the status of various things. Don’t get me wrong I use notifications via email, sms, and the IOS push notification system. However, I find myself often overloaded by this, to the point of disregarding notifications, or turning off many of them I’d like to have at certain times . I do this to simply live my life. Today’s post is brief, about how notifications could benefit from a notification manager and context.

Frankly, notifications should work beautifully they should simply allow me to not worry about checking the status of something, that I want to track. It should just automatigically send me a prompt about activity that has happened that I’d like to know about . The problem is that there are alot of things that I want to know about, but not necessarily all the time, and not necessarily broadly.

Context is always king. There is a context for pushing buttons, there’s a context for where I’m pushing the button there’s a context for when , there’s a context for where in the world I’m at, and in the context of where in season. Context dictates alot of behavior, from wearing a jacket to wearing shorts instead, to sitting outside to not seeing the light of day in a cold winter in NYC.

Push Notifications are really dumb, they don’t care about my context, meeting no meeting or location. So … why not create a notifications manager. A simple app that could just suck in all the messages, and simply vend out those with a likely hood of being super important and otherwise create a queue of of fifo ordered notifications. The manager, could learn things about context and make smart contextual decisions on whether or not to forward things along. The context checks don’t have to be heavy they can be light, and with open sourced tools to make SVM’s easier like word2vec, it seems like such a simple manager or application that took into account am I working or not working and is this pin important or not , would be an ultimate win for humanity.

This is a terse post, but the reality is that I’m just highlighting a bigger problem. When designing applications we often don’t look at the context outside of our application enough. Designing an application should always try to take into account clues about context, even if there simple ones.

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