Many people have addressed Do Not Disturb and questioned why there isn’t a toggle for it in the iOS Notification Center. Often, the justification is that OS X has a Show Banners and Alerts feature in its Notification Center therefore it could be a viable to add Do Not Disturb in a similar fashion. The conversation arose again a few days ago, so I decided to sit down and think about my own personal thoughts on the matter.
What is written below, along with the images submitted, is a collection of my analysis on Do Not Disturb as well as my solutions to the inquiring minds. They are strictly my opinion based on my own personal experience, but I hope to shed some light on a topic I feel hasn’t been focused on as in-depth as I attend to with this post.
Do Not Disturb vs. Show Banners and Alerts
First, I will begin by explaining the difference between these two. Sometimes their differences can be overlooked and I want to put their “definitions” on the table so to speak so I can move forward with a solid foundation.
Do Not Disturb - A feature on iOS which allows the user to silence any calls and alerts from the lock screen when enabled.
Show Banners and Alerts - A feature on OS X which allows the user to show or hide banners and alerts from the desktop when enabled.
From the core, these two features are starkly different – Do Not Disturb functions only when the device is locked and Show Banners and Alerts only works when computer is in use (by nature of the OS). With that said, the implication of these features is the following:
Do Not Disturb is designed to keep you uninterrupted when you’re not using your device while Show Banners and Alerts keeps you uninterrupted when you’re using your computer.
In simple terms, one serves for when a device is not in use while the other serves while it is in use. That’s a significant difference. When Do Not Disturb is enabled and you’re using your device, it is not in effect. You still receive notifications (banners and alerts) without interruption. Therefore, placing a switch for Do Not Disturb in the Notification Center doesn’t make sense.
Do Not Disturb doesn’t mandate SpringBoard notifications (banners and alerts). Even with it enabled, the device still shows banners and alerts like normal. By placing a toggle in the Notification Center, it makes a false impression on the nature of Do Not Disturb and just adds clutter – it doesn’t make sense.
A logical response to this could be:
"Then why not make Do Not Disturb hide banners and alerts too which would make this feature work in the Notification Center?"
There are many issues with why that wouldn’t be a good solution, especially for users who have it scheduled. Another tack-on suggestion could be:
"Add a Show Banners and Alerts option within Do Not Disturb."
Although it is an option, it adds more complexity than the user needs to handle. If the user has to think whether that option is enabled before enabling Do Not Disturb then it removes the ease of knowing exactly what you’re doing when you toggle the switch.
Hopefully, you see why I feel that a feature like Do Not Disturb and Show Banners and Alerts are two separate entities and would wreak havoc if placed together.
So, what if I want best of both worlds?
Like the title says, what if you want both features? A way to keep you uninterrupted when you’re not using your device as well as when you are? My concept photos show what I feel could be a good way to integrate them both.
In the images I submitted, you’ll notice that it has the following disclaimer:
"Do Not Disturb is enabled. Calls and alerts that arrive while locked will be silenced."
This only shows when Do Not Disturb is enabled. Why did I add this after digressing into why Do Not Disturb doesn’t belong in the Notification Center? Because it is applicable to let the user know of its current state. Although Do Not Disturb doesn’t mandate banners and alerts on the SpringBoard, iOS still stores all the notifications you receive even with it enabled. And despite being an “advanced user” so to speak, and having a status bar icon, I forget it’s left on sometimes.
This isn’t a problem I face alone. I have had three friends in the last two months make a comment that they couldn’t figure out why their device wouldn’t buzz or ring. They mentioned they finally discovered that it was this feature called “Do Not Disturb” that was on. Two of them said it took them over a week to figure it out (the last said over a month). The prompt in the Notification Center, I feel, should help in reminding even the most “advanced” of us that Do Not Disturb is actively running. In my mind, this would always be in view in the Notification Center until it’s turned off. On top of this, having some type of alert after a significant amount of time that Do Not Disturb is turned on would be great integration as well.
But this message won’t be displayed in full view all the time. Pulling down the shade will reveal a Show Banners and Alerts toggle along with the text. Toggling it, similar to OS X, will turn off all banners and alerts from showing on the SpringBoard. When turned off, a status bar icon will show to notify the user of its state (next to the battery percentage). Since the scrollview in the Notification Center is very fluid, it won’t be hard for the user to discover the Show Banners and Alerts toggle as well as check its state in the even they forget (or don’t look at the status bar icon). You can hide the toggle and the text by pushing the view back up again.
As mentioned in the field, it will toggle itself back on again tomorrow. One might ask “Why not have a similar un-toggle feature for Do Not Disturb?” It would conflict with Schedule and wouldn’t help in users figuring out how to use all of its features.
I would love to hear your thoughts, concerns, and insight on this topic. Feel free to comment below or hit me up on Twitter.
UPDATE: I have started a project with a developer to bring this to life. Coming to Cydia in the near future.
UPDATE 2: It just dawned on me. Think about Power Nap as being the OS X equivalent to Do Not Disturb. The implication is that your device is not in use and doesn’t interrupt you (you don’t have to leave the lid open or disable your computer from sleeping).
© 2013 Joshua Tucker