Notifications

After all the comments in my last blog entry and some other comments, here are my thoughts:

  • notifications in dialogs, like the ones in gaim, are disturbing, and sometimes makes user lose them (if you are typing and looking at the keyboard, and press SPACE/ENTER/whatever)
  • notifications in panel (either notification area or a bubble on an icon) are, at least from my experience, always missed. I used to have the alarm daemon in Evolution set up to use the tray icon instead of dialogs, and after a few days missing *all* my appointments, I switched back to disruptive dialogs, which at least are more difficult to lose (unless you are typing)
  • libnotify implementation makes it difficult to not see the notification, but doesn’t interrupt your current task

So, my conclusion is that libnotify is the best way I’ve seen so far for notifications. Of course, as with the trash applet thingy, we need to make sure we don’t abuse them, and only use them for real notifications, not for every status change.

The GUI in the notification-daemon might need some tweaks, specially if we want it to look like all those mockups we saw some time ago, but that’s all I can think of against libnotify.

One Response to “Notifications”

  1. I agree with point number 1 (I believe you are referring to notifications with buttons and not guifications). Perhaps giving dialogues a way to not be the top level window with the default responder set to any buttons would make this type of window easier to use? (I hope that made sense).

    On point 2, why not give people a way to have this via a plugin system?

    On point 3, it depends on screen size, where the users attention is, etc. When I get a notification in the middle of the screen, it grabs my attention immediately but is annoying as all get out. When I get one at the top right for Bubbles in Growl (for example) I know that it’s not really important unless it is red, but that I may want to look at it. When I put my mouse over the notification, it stays on screen until I move it away, because my mouse is probably going to be on the notification 9/10 of the time only if I put it there at that precise moment.

    Notifications like this are meant to be temporary. The mockup you link to doesn’t seem to be so temporary, whereas the screen shots you posted in the previous blog entry seem a lot more like the idea behind notifications.

    Cheers,
    Chris