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Joshua Tucker

Do Not Disturb for iOS - Application Integration


To make this short, I attended a conference called Apps World this past week at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. I met a woman for the first time there and we totally hit it off. She’s a designer too and we spent much of our time talking design and interaction. Her insight truly opened my mind to thinking in different and new ways.

Originally posted on Dribbble.


Do Not Disturb was a prominent feature in iOS 6. Beyond setting a schedule, Do Not Disturb is a simple toggle on and off action. Our iOS devices are extremely powerful and are designed by incredibly intelligent people. How could Do Not Disturb move forward in a way that makes it more intelligent too without you needing to attend to it? 

One way is to integrate it with Calendar (see here). It would helpful so you don’t have to remember to set Do Not Disturb if you’re in a class, in a meeting, or somewhere that your calendar has down. This works primarily for occasions in which you’re not using your device. But what about when you are? How could this work?

Grab your hardhats. 

Do Not Disturb for Applications

One for All or All for One?

Apple designed the banners in such a way to make them as unobtrusive as possible but to remain visible enough to catch your eye. You can still navigate places when banners are showing and they aren’t generally aggravating when you’re moving from task to task, app to app. However, this is not the case for certain scenarios such as reading a book or document, watching a movie, or playing a game. Essentially places where you’re in presentation or fullscreen mode. 

Adding the ability for Do Not Disturb to manage when you’re using your device is a solution, but it’s cloaking it all when it isn’t necessary. When specificity can be achieved, I feel it’s always the best solution. Much easier and more efficient. When the sun is facing my window, I close the shades. But do I want to close all my shades, even the ones on the other side of the house when I just want to close this one for a specific period of time? No. So how can I close only one shade so to speak on my iOS device?

Intelligent Integration

Do Not Disturb could work in a “one shade” fashion too. For applications such as games, video players, or in stock applications like iBooks, an alert could show offering you the option to set Do Not Disturb specifically for that application only. If you don’t mess with the banner at all, Do Not Disturb remains off and will hide automatically. However if you enable it, Do Not Disturb will turn on and the banner will hide.

While in the application, you won’t be disturbed. If you choose to leave the application, it won’t be set everywhere else. The integration would be intelligently designed to not prompt you each time. If you only exit for X amount of time or the application is still “running” and hasn’t been killed in the App Switcher, the setting you have remains intact. If you wish to change the setting, you could do a gesture from the top of the screen (possibly two on the iPhone, four on the iPad) to show the option again and allow you to change your choice. Over time, the device could catalog your patterns of enabling Do Not Disturb and make the decision for you (but prompt you of the choice you set and allow you to change it if you wish to). 

Let’s let our device be the smartypants. 

© 2013 Joshua Tucker

Bonus Feature

Here’s how I got the necessary colors for the banner and its elements:

I analyzed the color table of the image in question and checked two things: which color was the most used and which color was the brightest color (128 block color grid). The most used color was taken to make the banner and the button. The brightest color was used to color the text and moon icon. In the event that the most popular color and brightest color were the same, it went down the grid to the next color in which it was visible (could be determined by a brightness parameter). The colors for drop shadows, gradients, and the like were done in a similar fashion (with exceptions to the rule of course too). The background underneath the content is also blurred. All of this computation could be done in code and on-device dynamically.