Notifying the User Android

Applications can use notifications to greatly improve the user’s experience. For example:

  • An email application might notify a user when new messages arrive. A news reader application might notify a user when there are new articles to read.
  • A game might notify a user when a friend has signed in, or sent an invitation to play, or beat a high score.
  • A weather application might notify a user of special weather alerts.
  • A stock market application might notify the user when certain stock price targets are met. (Sell now! Before it’s too late!)

Users appreciate these notifications because they help drive application workflow, reminding the users when they need to launch the application. However, there is a fine line between just enough and too many notifications. Application designers need to consider carefully how they should employ the use of notifications so as not to annoy the user or interrupt them without good reason. Each notification should be appropriate for the specific application and the event the user is being notified of For example, an application should not put out an emergency style notification (think flashing lights, ringing noises, and generally making a “to-do”) simply to notify the user that his picture has been uploaded to a website or that new content has been downloaded.

The Android platform provides a number of different ways of notifying the user. Notifications are often displayed on the status bar at the top of the screen. Notifications may involve

  • Textual information
  • Graphical indicators
  • Sound indicators
  • Vibration of the device
  • Control over the indicator light

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