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TechnologyJul 11, 2016

Key Considerations for Push Notifications

Aaron Wolin

Many of our clients want notifications integrated into the apps they build. And they should! App-based notifications are a great way to alert VIP customers about events such as upcoming deals, social events, or company news.

App notifications are difficult to master and their implementation highly depends on their intended use. We’ve curated a list of topics to discuss with our clients before deciding on how to design a notifications system that would best suit their needs.

  1. __consider the content

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A notification’s content and actionable event can greatly change how a system is implemented.

Are notifications intended to alert a customer about time-sensitive information? Whether the notification is responding to a breaking news story or a new deal on shoes, time-sensitive notifications should be flashy with significant sounds, vibrations, or message content that distinguishes the message from other notifications the user might receive. Clicking on the notification should immediately provide more details about why the user was notified.

Are the notifications alerting the user of a regularly-occurring action or event? Communication or chat apps should have a configurable level of notification, and the notification’s sound and vibration should be prominent but not annoying since the user will likely be involved in many conversations a day.

Are the notifications just to say hello and remind the customer to open your app? These types of notifications should be unobtrusive but friendly with no immediate user action needed.

  1. Define the Target Audience

Is the notification intended to reach anybody that has installed your app? These notifications are called push notifications, aka remote notifications. In order to receive a push notification, users need to install your app and accept any notification preferences. Push notifications will appear on a device even if your app is not running in the background, and although they can be targeted to a specific audience they are intended to be less personal and more mass-reaching.

Is the notification intended to reach a specific user or target a unique event? If a notification correlated to a user or a particular action, then a local notification is the best approach. A local notification can be spawned by the app itself, but requires the app to be running. A good example of this type of notification would be to alert the user when a new message in a chat app has been received. The app must be running on some level to receive the message and keep the conversation active, and the notification is tied to a unique and personal event.

  1. Determine the Message’s Lifespan

A notification’s importance determines if the message content needs to be archived or can disappear after an action has been taken.

If notification messages need to be saved or read at a future date, then your app should contain a notification center or inbox to manage any alerts. This approach could be used to archive both push and local notifications, but can add overhead to development time and require the user to manage their app messages.

  1. Single vs Multi-Device Support

If notifications are device-specific, then they are more geared toward a user’s current actions and should alert the user only on the device they are using. An app based on geolocation data should only alert a device that triggers some location-based events.

If your notifications need to target multiple devices, they they will likely be account-based to ensure a user receives a notification on all registered devices. Depending on the intention of the notification, if the user responds to the alert on one device the notification could disappear from the others.

Conclusion  

There are many ways to implement and execute a valuable notification system for your customers. Often, a hybrid approach will be needed with push notifications reaching a broad audience on critical and time-sensitive alerts while local notifications can handle user-specific events.

Credera is here to help deliver the best app-notification system for your audience!