Tag Archives:  Watch

Thoughts on Notifications

Last Friday I was invited by the friendly people at Springload to give a talk on Push / Interactive Notifications.

The slides are targeted at Product people who are responsible with making the decision of including Push Notifications in the roadmap of their apps.

The gist of that talk is that just because you can send Push Notifications or display alerts to the user, it doesn’t mean you should. Notifications are the number one reason why people delete apps and you should keep this in mind when building your apps.

Here’s my (current) Top 10 Notification best practices:

  1. Guided “Opt In” rather than “Opt Out”
  2. Allow user to specify the types of messages they wish to receive. Support DND. Think Time Zone
  3. High volume of Notifications? Consider providing a “Snooze” custom action
  4. Only send relevant messages. This is NOT a direct marketing channel
  5. Don’t send confidential or sensitive data through push notifications
  6. Consider promoting custom actions that do not require the app to start up
  7. Use clear language and keep the message short
  8. Choose the lowest frequency of notifications that still delivers a great user experience
  9. Be aware of context. Is the user in your app right now?
  10. Consider aggregating multiple messages into a more generic “group”

Quick thoughts on the  Watch

Apple will announce in just a couple of days more details about the  Watch. I decided I’d join the bandwagon and comment on it. 

Why not just use the iPhone?

In order to answer this question, I will first look at our use of the iPhone. During WWDC 2014, Apple introduced iOS 8 and its interactive notifications. These notifications are supposed to let you “stay focused while you stay in touch”. The problem is, in order to actually get anything done, the number of actions required of the user is surprisingly high. 

  • Get the phone out from the pocket
  • Swipe the notification down
  • Tap the action 
  • Authenticate yourself (Touch ID helps but requires a recent iPhone)

Let’s now speculate about the steps required to perform the action using the  Watch. 

  • Flick the wrist
  • Tap the action

The benefits are clear: this is not just more subtle but it also comes with less friction. For as long as the watch is on the wrist you are always authenticated. A simple flick of the wrist can show you a glance of the event and seamlessly transitions into an actionable notification.

What does Apple mean by personal?

Let’s look at some potential use cases if you become an  Watch owner. You’ll soon be able to:

  • Pay for things
  • Unlock doors
  • Bypass authentication to interact with your apps
  • Identify yourself when you jump in your car (and let it update its setting to match your preferences)
  • Quickly communicate with your friends
  • Do all the above in a subtle and painless manner
  • Get access to parts of your health information 

All of the above can be done easily and with litte to no friction. Arguably, your iPhone can perform all of the above, but the way it does it requires a significant amount of steps and planning. 

Having a device that is always on, always there, always ready to be my valet, is why I think this will be the most personal gadget Apple has ever built. 

Will I buy one?

If it will be as easy as it sounds to interact with, then I might find myself interacting more  often and more promptly. This is the kind of value that will make me want to own one.