Fred Wilson:

The reason I think mobile notifications, done right, are a game changer is that notifications become the primary way I use the phone and the apps. I rarely open twitter directly. I see that I have ’10 new @mentions” and I click on the notification and go to twitter @mention tab. I see that I have “20 new checkins” and I click on the notification and go to the foursquare friends tab. I see that I have “4 new kik messages” and I click on the notification and go to my kik app.”

This strikes me as a view point of a very reactive, or perhaps passive, mobile phone user. That is, the type of person that is only reacting to changes and is not actively using these applications. The type of user that only looks at DMs or the type of user that only responds to certain beeps and pings.

Or, not me.

I go out of my way to turn off as many notifications as I can — instead I prefer to actively move to those apps when I want to use them (which is quite often in the case of apps like Twitter and Mail). I don’t need, nor do I want, a ton of notifications because often I am already aware of what these notifications will say before the notification actually goes off.

That is the real crux of any notification system and is only compounded on mobile devices: how do you meet the needs of the different user classes without alienating the average, non-technical, user? Too many options breeds too much confusion and frustration. Too few options pisses off people (case in point: iOS).

I don’t even know if a “happy medium” exists here.


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