Full screen images for my third revision of Lock Screen Actions.
© 2013 Joshua Tucker
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
As promised, here are fullscreen shots of my Reminders for Messages on iOS concept. Check out the original Dribbble post for full details.
Full screen images for my Safari for iOS New Tab View concept. This first part highlights the Top Sites tab. Original post on Dribbble.
Over the last two years, as I’ve continued to grow and learn more about design, my diligence to truly evaluate the features people have suggested for iOS and my own projects has increased. I often found myself indulging in something based on the “how cool would it be factor” instead of taking the view from the sky and deciding the validity of the idea based on the important fundamentals: security, usability, functionality, etc.
Although I have much to learn and understand, I am confident in writing my point of view on the iOS lock screen and what should and should not be accessible from it. Many times has this topic come up in discussions online and offline, but I have yet to find a solid source that elaborated on the specifics. This is my goal with these “series” of posts. I am breaking up the discussion in bite-size chunks as to not overload people, including myself. I can’t discuss everything on each topic in a post either, so I’ve opened up a way to discuss more dynamically (see Branch).
The main question of this discussion will be:
“What should and should not be accessible from the lock screen and why?”
Part 1 will focus on the issue of security.
The security of the user and his or her information on device is extremely important. Regardless of whether a passcode is set, what can be viewed or done directly from the lock screen should be an issue of great concern. As a point of critique, I will use a common feature that jailbreaker’s love; quick send.
At the core of lock screen security, I believe it’s extremely vital that a user shouldn’t be able to perform any action that requires or allows someone to search Contacts. This is why quick send from the lock screen is a fundamental security flaw. Someone can start a new message and search through all your contacts, viewing data such as phone number or email address. But one might argue “Siri allows you to call, text, etc. from the lock screen, so quick send is no different.” This is not true, and here’s why. With Siri, you have to be deliberate when you perform any of those actions. Siri awaits a direct input such as “Call X” with X equaling a value which is extremely specific. You can’t search through all your contacts via Siri, whereas with quick send, I can start by typing the letter “a” and go down the alphabet, viewing every contact and their information. That’s a big problem. One might follow up with an argument “What if you prompt the user for a passcode (if set) or require the user to have a passcode on to use this feature?” If this is a question you may have, stay tuned as I will discuss why this wouldn’t work either.
To conclude this section, if any application, tweak, or concept potentially allows a user to search through Contacts, or any data that is considered private, then there’s a fundamental security issue at hand. This is why Apple will never implement a feature such as quick send unless they are able to ensure protection of a user’s private data.
I encourage you to jump in and post your thoughts. Hit up my thread on Branch to get involved.
© 2012 Joshua Tucker
How Facebook’s New Chat Drawer Increases Inconsistency
Facebook updated their iOS application today and incorporated a new chat drawer for the iPhone and iPod touch. It’s essentially the same as the left drawer but accessed from the right side. There were a lot of other features that were added as well however that’s not the focus of this rebuttal.
I am writing this because I feel that the newest drawer addition continues to make different parts of the Facebook application inconsistent and confusing for the user. I have broken each point into its own section for better understanding of why I feel this analysis matters.
The News Feed page is the same as before with one exception; a new chat button on the top right side. On top of adding the button, the new drawer can shown by swiping from the right to the left, which means the News Feed has dual side gestures to show different drawers. This presents a problem. Native cell swipe handling has been compromised.
Using Mail as an example, users are coached to understand that swiping a cell presents a Delete button. No matter which way you swipe, the button is presented to ensure both left and right-handed people can perform the action with ease. This pattern is engrained as default all over iOS and is a known paradigm for other applications that choose to use it correctly, whether it’s a Delete button or not. Due to how Facebook handles the drawers currently, it makes it impossible to integrate any of those features in the future:
1) Deleting my own posts from the News Feed
2) Hiding posts
3) Reporting for spam
The second and third point are not features available in the mobile application. My question is why not? They very well should be and are just as important from the mobile platform as it is from desktop. These are just a few ideas for what could be added.
You may be thinking that this isn’t such a big deal, but wait until the connection is made with the section below.
If you go to your own page, nothing has changed – which is a problem. Note that the Chat button is not available on the top right side of the bar. Why? Having access to the chat feature is just as important here as it is on the News Feed. Why limit a core feature and require the user to perform extra steps to reach it? First inconsistency.
Second, the cell swipe handling becomes super sketchy here. Let me list what each swipe in this view does:
Swipe Left (Page): Shows “X” button to allow you to delete a status
Swipe Right (Page): Shows main drawer
Already at this point, it diverts from what is being used in the News Feed. Consistency is vital to user interaction; it’s absolutely invaluable. A feature is being limited and made harder to access and the handling completely changes. Not good. Second inconsistency.
Third, I mentioned above that the chat drawer can’t be accessed from the profile page (or other pages). In fact, it can. But, it’s strange. If you swipe the navigation bar from right to left, the drawer appears. Again, why? Is the lack of a chat button a bug or deliberate? If it’s a bug, then that’s fine, but either way it still adheres to my concerns. And if it’s deliberate, why hide it? Bad news bears.
Note: The handling of the profile page is the same for all other pages.
In light of my points, what is my solution? I could discuss how I feel the view should be changed completely, but for the sake of my argument, let’s go with the best way to optimize with what we’ve got. Here’s my proposition.
1) Keep the default cell swiping paradigm consistent in all places. Allow the user to swipe either way on a cell to be presented with options such as delete, hide, or report for spam
2) Show both the Main and Chat button on the navigation bar everywhere. Accessibility from everywhere is extremely important
3) Still have the ability to swipe open a drawer by restricting the swiping to only the navigation bar or make the off-screen gestures more precise. Leave 98% of the page adhering to default cell swiping and make the edges a way for you to more deliberately swipe across and access the drawers.
Feel free to hit me up on Twitter to continue this discussion or with questions/concerns.
© 2012 Joshua Tucker