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Last update: May 2021

3 mins to read - 2016/07/25

Notifications Have Become the Primary Interface of the Mobile Eco-System

OpenBack believes mobile app notifications, often called Push Notifications, have become the primary interface on mobile. By primary interface, we mean the thing that drives what someone does first when they unlock or even just look at their phone. What users do on their smartphone most often, and how they engage with and use their mobile devices is always going to be at the core of the mobile eco-system which is closely aligned with the user and the user’s needs.

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They may unlock the phone because of a beep or vibrate, but that is little more than a tell-tale for what they are about to engage with first, which is what they read on the screen (device or wearable) first which is more often than not a notification. As Apple continue to improve and evolve the notifications framework on iOS, and as Google evolve Android’s notification capabilities, notifications are becoming more and more front and centre. Notifications have already replaced SMS’s and phone calls as the alerts many of us get first on our phones – the WhatsApp message, the Facebook status update, the Viber call, the retweet, and the list goes on.

A great example of this continuing trend is the next version of iOS, iOS10, where the notification centre containing all of a user’s notifications will move a big step towards center stage on your device, even being displayed on screen once the user just picks up their phone, before they even press or touch anything else.

With the continued rise in prominence of notifications, the user’s preferences and ability to block apps spamming or too frequently sending notifications is also increasing. For example, the upcoming Android N will allow you to block an app forever, just from a long press of an offending notifications – a long way from the past of digging through complex Settings menus. By making push notifications the more and more central to the mobile eco-system on the user’s phone, the mobile OS’s have also realised the need to allow users to also better control their experience.

A notification arriving into your mobile device is right into the heart of your personal space, while people may be at their cognitive peak when reading email, notifications get to them anytime, anywhere. The future potential of mobile apps leveraging notifications continues to become larger and larger – but only for those apps that respect the special opportunity they have to be in the centre of their mobile users’ lives, and the centre of their personal mobile eco-system.

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