New notification gizmo

Fredrik's prototype looks the part alright, but I'm already having nightmares about the usability guidelines for such a thing... we already have alert dialogs if you need to give the user a message and a choice of actions, why complicate life by inventing something else that does the same?

These sorts of notifications should be about incidental things that don't require any further action-- it shouldn't matter if you never see them at all. Making the whole "balloon" clickable to open a relevant app or window is one thing (which is about as much interaction as a notification icon itself should allow), but offering a list of possible actions just doesn't really feel right to me... especially if they're presented as hyperlinks, which seems like an unhealthy nod towards Windows' "look, everything's a web page, really, honest it is" model :)

Comments:

one click to show the application needing focus is enough

Posted by michel on October 22, 2004 at 06:25 AM GMT+00:00 #

I would suggest a timeout value after which the little window slides out of view or disappears. I would get rid of the choices as well and just keep it informational.

Posted by PatrickG on October 22, 2004 at 07:55 AM GMT+00:00 #

The timeout feature is already there, AFAICT... from Fredrik's blog:
   notification.Body = "Stock Update";
   notification.Summary = "Your stocks are rising high!";
   notification.Timeout = 4000;

Posted by Calum Benson on October 22, 2004 at 07:59 AM GMT+00:00 #

This thing would be really useful for "New IM message from Foo" and post part of the message body (or all of it if it fits). Clicking on the notification window would give you a chat with the person and remove the window. Doing nothing would make the window go away automatically after a certain time.

Posted by Mikael Hallendal on October 22, 2004 at 08:02 AM GMT+00:00 #

This thing would be really useful for "New IM message from Foo" and post part of the message body (or all of it if it fits). Clicking on the notification window would give you a chat with the person and remove the window. Doing nothing would make the window go away automatically after a certain time.

Posted by Mikael Hallendal on October 22, 2004 at 08:02 AM GMT+00:00 #

Yep.. I've no problem at all with the whole window being clickable to do something useful, as I said... it's just the alert-like 'buttons' that concern me :)

Posted by Calum Benson on October 22, 2004 at 08:08 AM GMT+00:00 #

Erm, doesn't that just move the concept of instrusiveness "off to the side a little" instead of minimizing it in a more thorough manner? I mean, by making them non-interactive what you basically get is, "I'm not going to bother you now, but when you finally need to do something I'm going to bother you THEN."

Switch to the application, hunt around for the potential action/query that generated the notification ("damn it, said I have a new file transfer pending, where is it?!"), and click, click, click...

...the same as before, except that you bring the battle to the application, instead of the application bringing the battle to you. The only thing you've removed is the initial pop-up from the center of the screen and moved it off to the side somewhat, into the background.

AKA, "This consumes as much time as it does before, only the way it consumes time has changed."

As opposed to, "You have a new file transfer from Mr. X! Accept, Reject?"

One click (another, if the application wants you to pick a directory) and you're done and can continue with work.

Posted by No named coward. on October 22, 2004 at 12:40 PM GMT+00:00 #

If I have to make a choice to accept or reject, I want to see a regular alert box, not a notification window that might disappear just as I'm about to click on it, or be overwritten by a more important notification-- both of which are entirely possible according to the notification spec, IIRC.

Posted by Calum Benson on October 27, 2004 at 05:01 AM GMT+00:00 #

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I am an Interaction Designer in the Systems Experience Design team, arriving at Oracle via Sun where I've worked since 2000. I currently work on sysadmin user experience projects for Solaris. Formerly I worked on open source Solaris desktop projects such as GNOME, NWAM and IPS.

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