As discussed in an earlier piece, I have a fair bit of envy towards Android and even iOS when it comes to notifications. The notification curtain in Android till this day is its best feature, so good that Apple blatantly copied it without shame. Even the upcoming Blackberry 10 has its own interaction of this notion, so what about Windows Phone?
Well, I suppose you could say our interaction of this exists in the live tile experience. Although that isn’t a false statement, there is still more to be desired. Let’s take a look at the experience to get a good grip on where in coming from.
A perfect example would be Facebook, Windows Phone does a great job at handling Facebook notifications, a bit of an unfair advantage even, and after all, it is integrated into the operating system. When a notification occurs, your number one go to spot is your “Me” tile, here you can like and comment on the event. Furthermore, if you have push notifications set up, you’ll get a toast notify at the top of the screen. You will also see the even on the Facebook tile itself when it flips, and new to Windows Phone 8, the ability to enable a small icon with event counts can also be displayed on the lock screen.
Wow, that’s 4 different ways to be notified of your Facebook activity, so what’s the problem? Let’s talk live tiles and toast first. Toast notifications are often times not instant like they are on other platforms, so you find yourself not getting a ping as instant as you would like to. The other problem with toast notifications, once they disappear or you missed one, you almost never have any idea it even happened. Although I do enjoy the live tiles, they’re only relevant when pinned to the home screen. What happens to all those apps I do not have pinned? How will I know an event occurred?
Now the Me tile, this tile is useless if you’re talking anything outside of Facebook and Twitter. What I would love to see if the Me tile transformed into a hub where I could have display events that are important to me. So, instead of having a magic mail app pinned to the home screen, I could go into my me tile and set it up to pull all voice mail notifications from magic mail. If I should miss a voicemail toast because I was away from my phone, it could also be displayed in the same manner.
Am I alone on this?