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Designer pitches concept for usable iOS notifications in video

Dana Franklin
May 3, 2011
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Like many of us here in the TUAW compound, designer Andreas Hellqvist is dissatisfied with the intrusive and often downright annoying notifications system iOS 4 offers today. Like me, he expresses his distaste for iOS's notifications by turning them off in almost every app on his device. After exploring other concepts on the Web and finding most didn't adhere to existing iOS concepts, the Swedish designer took it upon himself to illustrate his own vision of what iOS notifications should be.

Hellqvist begins by consolidating all notifications into a single system level app. Users could then position the notifications software -- on the launch bar, a page of apps, or hidden in a folder -- to suit her own personal desire to see incoming alerts. A single badge displaying a summed total of messages across all apps on the device would allow users to see how many unread notifications they had at-a-glance. Upon launching the app, Hellqvist suggests users could see a complete list of all notifications, filter messages by app, and perform some basic notification management. Tapping on a notification would launch the appropriate action on the device: opening an incoming text message or dialing the number from a missed call, for example.

The new notifications concept also addresses incoming alerts on the lock screen. Users would see a short listing of recent messages here. To avoid embarrassing pocket dialing, Hellqvist employs a nifty "slide-to-read" concept (pictured above) that allows users to quickly respond to a notification by sliding app icons from left to right, much like the familiar "slide to unlock" interface currently available in iOS.

Overall, the video succinctly summarizes what notifications in iOS could and should be. While some developers already offer software with similar capabilities to jailbroken devices, I would welcome many of the enhancements pictured in this video in an official iOS release. Hopefully, Apple is listening and will implement some of Hellqvist's ideas into a future version of iOS. Then, maybe I'd use notifications more.

Keep reading to watch the concept video and tell us what you think in the comments.

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