The Sub-prime Crisis of Notifications

Woman on red backdrop screaming in annoyance as she is inundated with too many notifications

What the crash would look like

  • Increased awareness of unnecessary notifications
  • Government regulators request that OS producers limit unnecessary notifications
  • All notifications become tightly restricted
  • Contacting users via push notifications becomes unreliable
  • Application developers no longer invest the time in timely notifications
  • With users no longer expecting notifications, developers are forced to go back to email and SMS to contact users at all

The Prisoner’s Dilemma

How we break free

A pledge for better notifications

1. Be timely

When the Steam Deck inspired a purchasing frenzy, many users complained they got inaccurate notifications, like this classic epoch failure for a user in the UK
This failure by YouTube may reflect a shift in usage patterns: where previously new and interesting videos didn’t need up-to-the-minute notifications, now users get breaking news and important premieres on YouTube.

2. Be targeted

The cut-off text makes the situation worse: it’s easy to assume this is happening in your town!
  1. Offer (the right amount of) control Finally there’s control. If I posted every bad example of user preferences for notifications this article would resemble 2000’s Flickr. But:
A classic example is Starbucks’ which, for a time, would only tell you order status if you also accepted spam
If you zoom in, this is every notification setting for Google Maps



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Courier is the fastest way for developers to build notifications for their apps. With one API and easy-to-use UI trigger multi-channel notifications at scale.