About Zach Orr

Zach Orr has been programming since he was 13, and has since been working on some big projects. Currently, along with his own side projects, he's contracted as a freelance developer to work on iPhone/iPad apps, build custom robots/hardware for a robotics company, and iPhone apps to interface with robots. He keeps up to date with all of the technology buzz going on through the year, and is always active in discussions about technology.

Notification Revamp for iOS 5?

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I’m not the only one that says the iOS notification system is in DIRE need of a revamp. Apple’s current notification system is flawed, to say the least. Issues that seem to plague the user range from lack of information, to disruption in the middle of a game or video, to a lack of management. A few users have even gone to the extent to draw up some concepts of systems they would like to see implemented. The rumor mill is spinning up with the addition of widgets and a notification system change. iPhone users everywhere hold their breath for a total redraw of the system. But what are the top things users are looking for?

 

Home Screen Availability

iOS supports being able to push notifications while the phone is locked, but you can only ever see one at a time. Users have to unlock their phone and scroll through all of the apps that might have sent them at notification in order to find what they were notified about. Many concepts have combated this issue by putting all the user’s notifications right on the home screen as they happen. They’ll offer a just enough information for the user to get a sense of what the notification is about (emails show sender/title, tweets show the mentioner and the beginning of the message, texts show the sender and the beginning of the text). However, these notifications should be hide-able by the user on their home screen, in order to keep a minimalistic feel to the iPhone, and as not to block your cute cat lock screen wallpaper.

 

Minimalistic Notifications

One of the most annoying parts of Angry Birds, despite missing that last pig, is when your gameplay is interrupted by an annoying text message or notification. These concepts tackle this issue by allowing a customizable list of applications that while that app is running, the user will not have any notifications pushed to them. Concepts of a redesign of the notification message altogether put the messages unobtrusively at the top of the iPhone screen, as opposed to stopping everything and putting them right in the middle. Clicking them will allow a drop down of your usual options.

 

Management Area

All of these concepts also show a management area for notifications. Users are able to see all of their recent notifications, and clicking on them will result in an appropriate action. This allows a quick and easy way for users to see what notifications they might have missed while watching a video or playing a game. This helps to streamline notifications from a black hole of tones and pop ups to short snippets of information relating to the user.

 

 

We’re hoping to see some, or all, of these changes in Apple’s notification system during WWDC. If you can’t stand using the current notifications (or, worse, if we don’t see an update at WWDC) and you don’t mind voiding your warranty, you can jailbreak your phone and download MobileNotifier, which seems to be the front runner in jailbroken notification systems. Ssshhh, but don’t tell Apple!