Android L and UX decisions vs Preferences - Pop ups

  1. Defenestratus

    Defenestratus Member


    Recently I've been in a bit of a "discussion" with people on Google+ about the merits of the traditional event management via the notification bar, versus pop-ups on screen.

    Back in 2009, one of the reasons I was driven to Android was its "user choice" approach to handling events (such as incoming SMS messages, email notifications, calendar reminders, etc..) It brought attention to the user that there were outstanding events that needed to be addressed, but it didn't force you to interact with them in any way in order to continue using the device. It didn't "pop up" a box on the screen in the middle of your lolcat video or while you were browsing the web. It was unobtrusive and flexible at the same time. In very much the same reason why we have "pop up blockers" on our web browsers, as users, I *thought* we only wanted window/UI actions based on events that we directly drove, such as button mashing, swiping, voice actions, etc...

    However I see in Android L's preview screenshots (and a disclaimer, I don't actually have a device currently that can run the Android L preview - my wife does but she won't let me touch it) that Google has opted for a pop-up type of notification for events. Even when playing videos. If you don't want them there, you have to swipe them away, or it seems they'll go away after a certain amount of time.

    I cannot for the life me understand why this is a good thing. If something pops up over top of my youtube video, or my movie - even if its "unobtrusive" (and what I've seen so far doesn't constitute that description in the least) I didn't ask for it to be there. I don't want to have a giant white box floating across the bottom of my screen because my drunk friend texted me "LOL @ MY FACE" while I'm trying to watch Inglorious Basterds or something.

    I understand that with apps like "heads up" and "NinjaSMS" these types of notifications are presently available, but I cannot for the life of me understand why we're reverting to a pre-notification pane era when I thought we as users had collectively embraced it - so much so that iOS directly copied it.

    I know the line "Different folks, different strokes" but is this honestly a great feature that people were asking for?

  2. Stuntman

    Stuntman Well-Known Member

    I currently do like the noifications to appear in the notification bar instead of popping up. However, I do think that the option to choose how notifications work would be a nice feature.
  3. Hadron

    Hadron Well-Known Member Contributor

    The irony is that a couple of years back iOS only had pop-up notifications, and this was widely recognised as an advantage of Android. ;)

    I think it's one thing if you can control it, another if it's left to the app developers to decide that their alerts are important enough to interrupt you. One advantage of root is that I'm quite certain that if L itself doesn't come with the option to control this it will be added to custom ROMs really quickly (it sounds very simple to do: since only the highest priority notifications produce a heads-up, all you need to do is treat them the same as lower-priority ones).

    I'd probably myself look for a way to choose which apps are allowed to use this. Though TBH I already have a snoozeable high visibility pop-up for calendar alerts, and can't think of much else bar phone calls I'd want to interrupt me, so suspect I might turn it off completely in practice.
  4. zuben el genub

    zuben el genub Well-Known Member

    Nothing except an emergency call from family is that important. Anything else can just wait until I feel like dealing with it. I don't care what the developer thinks is important unless it's a security or bug fix. "New and improved" doesn't cut it.

    I don't have any notices popping up on the computer. I don't have notifications turned on for the phone and tablet. I don't have voicemail. I had carrier turn it off.
    The only things in the bar are Viber, text and missed call. In the bar, I can deal with it as long as it doesn't flash.
  5. Defenestratus

    Defenestratus Member

    See this is my point... how is Android L going to recognize whats important enough to cover up a good 25% of your screen with a big white bar?

    I'm really hoping that Google is giving users the ability to totally turn off this functionality because I'm very married to the way that the system works now.
  6. zuben el genub

    zuben el genub Well-Known Member

    I doubt it. Facebook is adding ways to market to you all over the net. Google is admitting that + is a bust since you no longer need it, and will have to find some way to track and send you ads to compete since that seems to be the whole schtick.

    Since I refuse to support where I live any more than I have to, I resent it. I don't buy much in town.
    I can't pick ads from Adorama or B&H Camera in NY, OPT and Orion telescopes in CA and this town doesn't carry what I want. A lot of the other things are dealer only. Not sold online unless used.

    Just what are you unwindowing? MS? Defenestration was tossing someone out the window to their death. Stratus is a layer. At least for clouds.
  7. Hadron

    Hadron Well-Known Member Contributor

    My understanding, based on early reports, is that the app developer decides what is a high priority notification. So yeah, you can probably assume that FB will treat everything as high priority...

    I think that without user control this could backfire hugely, so I hope Google have anticipated that. We'll know soon enough I guess.
  8. Defenestratus

    Defenestratus Member

    Thankfully I wont have to personally worry about facebook...

    But does anyone with a preview build of Android L know if these notifications are able to be switched off?
  9. drexappeal

    drexappeal Well-Known Member

    Actually, this is something I've personally dealt with since I decided to join the Note bandwagon, with the Note 2.

    Samsung had baked this function into Touchwiz, where text messages would wake up the screen and show up as a "pop up." I absolutely detested this, as I keep my phone in my pocket. I found that several times, I'd end up with my phone on (and my not realizing it), so when going to pull my phone out to use it, a semi-reply was already started to an incoming text message.

    It didn't stop there. When I upgraded to the Note 3, Samsung also baked in the wake up and "pop up" for Calendar events! Double whammy for me. In order to prevent that from happening, I went on a search for apps that could stop my phone from waking up whenever a text message or calendar event would be sent to my phone (while still keeping the message in the notification bar). These are the apps I came up with:

    For Text Messages, I use this:
    - Don't let the name of the app fool you. I'm sure it was created for those that actually wanted this function, but in the settings it allows you to prevent it also. If Google really intends to have this on Android L, without the ability to remove it, I surely hope that this trusted app can prevent that.

    For Calendar Events, I use this:
    - The only thing I don't like about using this is that, I actually liked the OEM calendar event, but I just detested it waking my phone up. I figured it was more worth it that it didn't wake up my phone (in my pocket) and start creating some random event, without my realizing.

    I definitely see the advantages of having popup notifications, in certain circumstances, but I really wish that they would just make it an option. Not everyone functions the same or has the same type of circumstances. Hope these apps help prepare you for Android L, if they do work in preventing those unwanted popups.
  10. Pizzamannetje

    Pizzamannetje Member

    It won't backfire on Google per se, but it will backfire on any app developer who overestimates the importance of their own app and it's messages. That would be, errrr... pretty much all app developers.
  11. Hadron

    Hadron Well-Known Member Contributor

    You are assuming there that the average user will understand how this works. Imagine someone gets a system update, and then starts getting huge pop-ups for every twitter alert or email while they are watching a movie: who are they going to blame?
  12. Pizzamannetje

    Pizzamannetje Member

    I think they'll blame twitter.
  13. Hadron

    Hadron Well-Known Member Contributor

    If there's an app update and then the alerts from that app change, any sensible person would blame the app.

    If there's a system update and after that alerts from many different apps change, then any sensible person will blame the system update.

    Things will settle down. Either Google will provide a control, or else most app developers will learn to provide one. But initially I think the concerns the OP posted are quite likely.
  14. zuben el genub

    zuben el genub Well-Known Member

    In another forum, Accuweather has started really misbehaving on some newer phones with KitKat. Accuweather blamed the developer. One poster got a reply from a complaint to Accuweather stating such.

    Even if it is the developer - if the program is as much used or popular, you would think that those who own the original (Facebook, Twitter, etc) would be interested enough in the name and goodwill for their licensed product that they would put out some kind of disclaimer to keep customers in the loop. Most people will have patience if they know problem is being addressed or they are given a work-around. It could be added in Play in the app description and get people to learn to check there first for info. If app uses messaging, it could be sent out as message to users.

    I get emails from MLB saying there's a glitch in At Bat, and they are working on it. Half the time, I didn't even see the glitch on the old tablet. (4.1)
  15. SuperMarino

    SuperMarino New Member

    Rather than an app deciding if their notifications are important enough to pop up over another app, an app should decide if notifications are important enough to pop up over it. This way if you're in Netflix, HBO Go, whatever, you can get pop ups while browsing, but once you are actually playing a video they are regulated to notification bar.

    Of course having global level controls are nice too, with the option to give certain apps "Always Notification", "Always Popup", or "At current app's discretion (based on thoughts above)". To me this would be the best system we could hope for.

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