Mobile App Notifications in the Enterprise Space: UX Considerations
By ultan o'broin on Mar 11, 2011
Here is a really super website of UX patterns for Android: Android Patterns.
I was particularly interested in the event-driven notification patterns (aka status bar notifications to developers). Android - unlike iOS (i.e., the iPhone) - offers a superior centralized notifications system for users.
(Figure copyright Android Patterns)
Research in the enterprise applications space shows how users on-the-go, prefer this approach, as:
- Users can manage their notification alerts centrally, across all media, apps and for device activity, and decide the order in which to deal with them, and when.
- Notifications, unlike messages in a dialog or information message in the UI, do not block a task flow (and we need to keep task completion time to about two to three minutes max) and are recoverable (important as mobile workers can be disrupted during the task or need to defer something). See the Anti-Patterns slideshare presentation on this blocking point too. Notifications must never interrupt a task flow by launching an activity from the background. Instead, the user can launch an activity from the notification.
What users do need is the ability to filter this centralized approach, and to personalize the experience of which notifications are added, what the reminder is, ability to turn off, and so on.
A related point concerning notifications is when used to provide users with a record of actions then you can lighten up on lengthy confirmation messages that pop up (toasts in the Android world) used when transactions or actions are sent for processing or into a workflow. Pretty much all the confirmation needs to say is the action is successful along with key data such as dollar amount, customer name, or whatever.
I am a user of Android (Nexus S), BlackBerry (Curve), and iOS devices (iPhone 3GS and 4). In my opinion, the best notifications user experience for the enterprise user is offered by Android. Blackberry is good, but not as polished and way clunkier than Android's. What you get on the iPhone, out of the box, is useless in the enterprise.