Tech UX

Push Notifications: On Abusing and Using

Instagram and Facebook recently started this new trend which sends push notifications that say “____ just posted for the first time in a while.”

I’ve asked around and come to the conclusion that people are annoyed with them. These notifications give us information that generally has nothing to do with us. Congrats to that person for finally posting on social media, but why is that so important that you have to ping my phone during dinner, meetings, coffee dates, etc? 

I went into the Notifications Settings page and found options to turn on/off Likes, Comments, Comment Likes, Likes and Comments of You, Live Videos, New Followers, Accepted Follow Requests, Friends on Instagram, Instagram Direct Requests, Instagram Direct, Photos of You, Reminders, First Posts and Stories, Product Announcements, View Counts, and Support Requests.

Whoah! Before I knock Insta for not having what I need, I’d like to commend them for having such comprehensive notification options. This is better than nearly all other apps.

But, sadly, there was no way for me to shut off the “first time in a while” push notifications.

Which brings me to my next set of thoughts.

Are you abusing the power you have over people’s phones?

As a UXer, I take the use of push notifications very seriously. I tell my clients what is good and what is bad. I’m afraid not everyone has the same kind of counsel when they are setting up their apps. Furthermore, according to previous user testing I have done, there is a direct correlation between age and desired amount of notifications. Teenagers love receiving push notifications. (I know, we’re all shocked.)  30-somethings would rather they take a chill pill. If you don’t take your user group into account you may end up with a lot of deleted downloads.

Is your notification valuable enough to interrupt your user’s day?