Melody Kramer

What Does a Better Push Notification Feel Like?

21 Jan 2015 by melodyjoykramer

I really dislike headline push notifications. They’re boring, they’re impersonal, and when breaking news occurs, every news outlet sends one so I end up with 5-6 variants on a headline.

That’s boring and it makes me tune out and probably turn off notifications.

To me, the best push notification would be something akin to a geofenced Snapchat. Here are some of my thoughts on this, in no specific order.

  1. NYC311 sends out geofenced push notifications. This is smart. They’re sending alerts to people in specific geographic areas, when specific events happen.

2. The best push notification is a Snapchat: it’s personal, it disappears, it’s short, it’s video, and it says one thing and says it well.

  1. Imagine instead of a headline, if news orgs. sent the upvoted comment on a website as push notification: it could incentive the audience to write good comments in order to reach a wider audience.

  2. What if a push notification sent you to a physical location to do something? A Push notification as community builder. This would be particularly interesting if the notifications were geofenced.

  3. Could we think of push notification as trusted advisor, as muse, as informant, as 10-second humorous distraction, as community builders? How would the design change? How does the messaging change? All of these situations require different ways of thinking about what information to include and how to design it.

6. What if a push notification allowed you to create content — and not just read content? What if you could upvote a push notification and it would reach a wider audience if it received enough upvotes? What if you respond or annotate via push notification?

  1. If the push is to personalization, then perhaps push notifications could be customized based on how often a user uses a phone. If user has not touched phone in X minutes, then serve this. If user has touched phone (or performed this action) in X minutes, then do this.

This isn’t something that’s specific to news orgs. I can see civic technologists using this — or all sorts of social networks.

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