Notifications in iOS 12: A Dream

I talked a lot about notifications on Twitter today and I figured it was high time I make a mock up for what I was hoping for in iOS 12. Pardon the hasty design, I did this in less than an hour, but this is a direction I’d be very happy for Apple to take in iOS 12.

Right at the top we have a smaller time indicator1. The current implementation takes up almost half the screen which seems like a total waste of space.

This also adds the current weather because who doesn’t like to see the weather at a glance?

Moving down, we have what I consider the most important changes to the whole operation. First, we have bundled notifications 🎉

Bundling notifications from a single app together means your brain doesn’t have to phase shift all the time when scrolling through your notifications. In this case, we have 4 messages from 2 people together in one space. This would normally take up far more space and be far less efficient than making each one of these their own notification and making me scroll down until I get to the oldest so I can start reading the conversation in reverse.

I can swipe this whole app’s notifications away at once, or I can press in to see each notification on its own.

When looking at the detail view, I can close single chats, send automated replies, or type in a message right from here.

The Twitter app is doing a similar thing, displaying part of the notifications and condensing them into a smaller area. It explicitly tells me I can press on the notification to see the rest.

And these are just normal old iOS-style notifications. These apps haven’t given me much to work with so they get treated like they always have been treated.

One thing you my have noticed is the times are all out of order on this screen: that’s by design. Because the most recent notification isn’t always the most important, iOS should rank your apps based on how often you act on their notifications and maybe even let you rank them yourself so that the most important stuff always floats to the top of the notification pile.

And because some people seem to like the current style, maybe include a setting where people can opt into the old method. I don’t like it myself, but it’s incredibly hard to make a single notification system that works for everyone, so a great default with some serious options is a good thing.

Again, this was put together in an hour and is honestly closer to the Android implementation than we’d ever get in real life, but I think something like this would be great to see from Apple this year. We’re less than 2 weeks away so we’l know soon enough if they have made any meaningful changes to notifications.

  1. You could throw the date up there too if you wanted. 

We’re All Just Making Content for Google

How did Google get so big?—60 Minutes – CBS News

Jeremy Stoppelman: If I were starting out today, I would have no shot of building Yelp. That opportunity has been closed off by Google and their approach.

Steve Kroft: In what way?

Jeremy Stoppelman: Because if you provide great content in one of these categories that is lucrative to Google, and seen as potentially threatening, they will snuff you out.

In my second post of the day that’s basically a rehash of an older post, this is what I have been talking about for a while. As I said back in November 2017:

In short, Google once was a tool for getting people to content that we as creators made, but today it seems like we are just doing data entry in Google’s database to let them display nuggets of our content in their software.

If you have good data, Google will do its best to either beat you at your own game or scrape your site to display that content as their own.

Chapters and the Beautiful Modularity of Podcasts

Ben Brooks had some choice words for chapters in podcasts in his post today about Castro 3.0.

Listeners (and this was literally news to me today) also use chapters to jump about in the podcasts to skip over the boring bits.

Isn’t the entire point of a podcast that the entire podcast is relevant and entertaining?

Yeah, that’s exactly what we do 😊. With a few exceptions, podcasts are not like movies or books. For podcasts like Serial or The Habitat, then sure I’ll listen to every word and slow down playback. But most podcasts are not like that. Very few podcasts are scripted out and edited, re-edited, and edited 10 more times like a novel, they’re recorded live and then posted a few hours later. Or they’re shows that cover many topics, not all of which everyone in interested in.

If Ben doesn’t like to play podcasts at 1.5x speed, trim silence, or skip over bits he’s not interested in, then that’s totally cool, I pass no judgement on how he listens to podcasts. But I will continue to skip chapters when I’m not into the topic1. Life is short, and listening to conversations slightly faster than real time is a damn miracle that I adore. Being able to easily skip a few minutes ahead to get to the next topic is a wildly useful.

Because of tools like these I have been able to enjoy more shows than I ever would have been able to otherwise. Yes, we should ask for podcast creators to edit their shows well so that I don’t want to skip anything, but that’s not realistic for every show.

One could even argue that the fact that podcasts are so modular, in that you can listen to bits and pieces from an ocean of voices. In fact, isn’t that exactly what we’re all doing with blogs? If anyone reading this has read every word I have published since you subscribed, then more power to you, but I would guess that the only human being who has read every word on this site is me. I’m not offended when people skip blog posts of mine, I’m not offended with they read in Pocket instead of on the site, and I’m not offended when they skip a podcast episode they don’t think they’ll be interested in. The odds of my tastes and interests lining up 100% with yours is basically zero, so please keep picking and choosing.

All this said, I’m really happy with the new Castro update and you should definitely get it. Whether you pay for these time-saving features is up to you.

  1. I love The Talk Show with John Gruber, but I can’t manage to care about baseball, whisky, or news about Apple’s campus, so I skip those chapters.