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Windows 8 lacking important feature: Notification Center

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#1 Proculsi

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 00:06

I've been using Windows 8 DP and RP and I mostly like it, but IMO I think is lacking a notification center to check on missed notifications.

What do you think?


#2 azspeedbullet

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 00:10

what notifications? do you mean the action center?

#3 rfirth

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 00:10

I've been using Windows 8 DP and RP and I mostly like it, but IMO I think is lacking a notification center to check on missed notifications. What do you think?


That's what the start screen live tiles are for... but I wouldn't mind also having a notification area to list missed push notifications.

#4 siah1214

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 03:10

Theoretically that's what live tiles are for. In practice they don't always work that well. Mostly because App developers so far suck at using them properly (don't always update when you get a notification)

#5 Dot Matrix

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 03:24

With the inclusion of live tiles, a notification center would be redundant functionality.

#6 +Audien

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 05:07

Live tiles is the main one, apps can display notifications on the lock screen, not to mention the slide in notifications.

#7 nMIK-3

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 05:34

Notification Center is the major lack from Windows 8 and also it is one of the most highly requested features for Windows Phone 7.
I have spoke with many Windows executives regarding this major issue, however it is not currently on schedule for both Windows 8 or Windows Phone 8.

The more I use Windows 8 the more I need and miss a real notification center.

Currently Windows 8/and WP7-8 are displaying notification numbers on the Tiles. However this causing major issues to keep up with your apps.

First you need to manually check every single Tile to see if there is any notification available for that specific app. The more apps you have the more tiles you need to follow manually in order to catch up with your stuff.
Second and most importantly. Many people are installing apps but they do not pin the Tile on the Start Screen. In that scenario it is impossible to get notifications for the specific app and yet in many cases people want to have the app installed but they do not need the tile visible all of the time in front of there faces, but they need to keep up with that app and its notifications which is impossible if they do not have the app's tile pinned in the Start Screen.
Third, the pop-up notifications are displayed ONCE and then they are gone for ever. It is almost impossible to remember them at a later time, if you do not click on them at the time they appeared.

So because of all the above, I agree with this thread. Windows 8 needed and needs a real Notification Center to collect, view, interact and dismiss all notifications in one place. Microsoft didn't include that in neither Windows 8 or Windows Phone and this is one of the major lacks of the new OS.

Because of that, I really see that to become MAJOR issue when thousands of apps is available in the Windows Store and our Metro Start Screen will be filled with tenths or even hundreds of tiles, it will be almost impossible to catch up with every single Tile/App manually, so I am really hopping for an official Notification Center App from Microsoft coming out in a later time to address this issue.

Notifications Center is now part of all major modern OS mobile and desktops and Apple's is advertising the notification center in the latest Mountain Lion as one of the strongest selling points and critical additions of the OS.
I really cannot believe how Microsoft missed that opportunity with Windows 8.

If you want to express your feelings about this situations please feel free to send a quick message to the Windows Development team here and let them know that you want a real Notification Center in Windows 8.

Even though its too late to integrate that in the OS now they can always create a separate App that acts as a universal notification center.

#8 Subhadip

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 05:36

The notification center introduced in iOS 5 and Android 4.0 were actually a response to live tiles and toast notifications introduced with Windows Phone 7. In comparison to Metro, the notification center is an inelegant and inefficient solution. Live tiles build in notifications right into the grid of apps making a notification center thoroughly redundant and obsolete. Plus, you have system wide toast notifications which pop up wherever you are. Of course, now it is up to the app developers to make these work up to potential. All that said, a history of toast notifications whouldn't take much of an effort and will pretty much act as a notification center for those who miss it. Would it be possible for a third part developer to collect and store all toast notifications for display?

#9 nMIK-3

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 05:58

The notification center introduced in iOS 5 and Android 4.0 were actually a response to live tiles and toast notifications introduced with Windows Phone 7. In comparison to Metro, the notification center is an inelegant and inefficient solution. Live tiles build in notifications right into the grid of apps making a notification center thoroughly redundant and obsolete. Plus, you have system wide toast notifications which pop up wherever you are. Of course, now it is up to the app developers to make these work up to potential. All that said, a history of toast notifications whouldn't take much of an effort and will pretty much act as a notification center for those who miss it. Would it be possible for a third part developer to collect and store all toast notifications for display?

Notifications in mobile OS-es were available from almost a decade. Symbian used to have a great notification system for almost a decade now. Android has them since Android 1.0 plus they introduced first the drop down notification-bar we all know and love. Android 4.1 Jelly Bean refreshed the notification experience by providing more information with richer media on the notification bar. Apple copied Android solution in iOS 5.0.

I do not to go over the same stuff again please read my previous post in that threat. Displaying notifications on Tiles is great, it really is, however the more apps/ties you have the more difficult will be for users to manually follow and catch up with notifications.

#10 georgevella

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 06:44

Notifications in mobile OS-es were available from almost a decade. Symbian used to have a great notification system for almost a decade now. Android has them since Android 1.0 plus they introduced first the drop down notification-bar we all know and love. Android 4.1 Jelly Bean refreshed the notification experience by providing more information with richer media on the notification bar. Apple copied Android solution in iOS 5.0.

I do not to go over the same stuff again please read my previous post in that threat. Displaying notifications on Tiles is great, it really is, however the more apps/ties you have the more difficult will be for users to manually follow and catch up with notifications.

I've read both threads but I don't see the point of a notifications hub. The way it is now, if I want to keep up to date about an app I simply pin it to the Start screen - I am able to easily select which apps I want to "follow"/keep track and which I simply don't care about (but use every now and then).

One thing I'd like to ask you is why did you say that a user has to manually check every single tile on the start screen? Tiles have numbers (or some other identifier) that tells the user that there is something important for them. A quick peek to the start screen will tell you exactly which apps have notifications and which don't (ex: FB message came in while away, now I've got a counter on the Messaging app).

Lastly, I've seen Android's notification hub (4.0 and earlier, haven't updated to 4.1 yet), sometimes it just gets cluttered with notifications: I had 4 entries this morning: tasks and agenda for today, emails, freakin updates - Tasks and Calendar agenda entries are useless - that's why I have two screens set for them in the launcher and I don't care about emails and app updates @ 6 in the morning. If Google ever decided to do telemetry on their OS and make a "heat map" of the notifications centre, mine would be all read around the Clear button.

#11 nMIK-3

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 07:23

I've read both threads but I don't see the point of a notifications hub. The way it is now, if I want to keep up to date about an app I simply pin it to the Start screen - I am able to easily select which apps I want to "follow"/keep track and which I simply don't care about (but use every now and then).

One thing I'd like to ask you is why did you say that a user has to manually check every single tile on the start screen? Tiles have numbers (or some other identifier) that tells the user that there is something important for them. A quick peek to the start screen will tell you exactly which apps have notifications and which don't (ex: FB message came in while away, now I've got a counter on the Messaging app).

Lastly, I've seen Android's notification hub (4.0 and earlier, haven't updated to 4.1 yet), sometimes it just gets cluttered with notifications: I had 4 entries this morning: tasks and agenda for today, emails, freakin updates - Tasks and Calendar agenda entries are useless - that's why I have two screens set for them in the launcher and I don't care about emails and app updates @ 6 in the morning. If Google ever decided to do telemetry on their OS and make a "heat map" of the notifications centre, mine would be all read around the Clear button.


You have a very clear point and that is, that the current situation is working perfectly for you. I do not want to prove the opposite in any case.
It just it doesn't serve me, the way I expect in order to be satisfied 100% for the reason I described in my first post of this thread.

I can clarify what I mean by the term manually. I assume in a couple of months my Metro Start Screen will be organized in different categories, from Groups of family people/tiles and business people/tiles, to personal apps, news apps, social apps, and games etc. The more time you spend on your Windows 8 machine the more apps will be available and installed causing a very long Start Screen full of tiles. Imaging a Start Screen with tenths of apps/tiles (in some cases it may be even hundreds of apps) and remember a tile does not represent an App. I can have 20 contacts pinned as tiles to my Start Screen from the People Hub, 10 websites from Explorer. Different news sections from news App, multiple weather locations, etc. The only way to check for notifications is by manually move across all your tiles in the Start Screen and visually check every single tile to see if there is a number in the corner, which represents the amount of notifications available for that specific Tile!

The other day I got a pop-up notification that an update failed to install. Even thought I saw the popup, I was doing something else and then something else and then something else until I completely forgot about it.
In that case a notification is good to stay somewhere until you dismiss it yourself.

And I completely understand your concerns regarding annoying notifications that bothers you every 2 minutes and I completely agree. This is why Google is now giving you an option to completely turn off notifications for a specific app right from the Android App Manager on Android 4.1 and Apple has also put an option in both the latest Mac OS and iOS to cease notification pop-ups for a period of time, like bedtime in the night or forever until you manually turn them back on.

Again this is my personal opinion, my experience and my needs. And just for the record, I am loving every single aspect of the new Windows 8, I was aware of the lack of the notification center from day 1 as I am following the Windows Phone development very closely (which the Windows 8 Metro interface is based on) and as I previously said the lack of the Notification Center is along the biggest complains/requests of the Windows Phone.

I tried to get use to the lack of a real notification center (and I may get use to it in the future) but for now I figure that the more I use Windows 8, the more Metro apps I install on the Release Preview, the harder it is to follow up with the notifications.

#12 Defcon

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 08:38

Live tiles are no substitute for a centralized notification center. Anyone who tells you different is wrong. Notifications need not be from a specific app and they need to be accessible no matter what the state of the app is.

If Microsoft had done any actual usability studies on Win 8, instead of telemetry to decide what features to remove, which seems to have been their sole UI criteria, they would have known this.

#13 BetaAddict

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 10:40

Live tiles are no substitute for a centralized notification center. Anyone who tells you different is wrong. Notifications need not be from a specific app and they need to be accessible no matter what the state of the app is.

If Microsoft had done any actual usability studies on Win 8, instead of telemetry to decide what features to remove, which seems to have been their sole UI criteria, they would have known this.

Really? You do realize that even in OSX, iOS, and Android, they all require the app (mail, twitter, calendar, etc) to be running for it to stay synced and push notifications. Win8 is no different. A tile is simply a small portion of the app running in the background. There really is any need for a separate redundant notification tab as it simpy will get cluttered up with no way to organize your notifications the same way you can organize your tiles into groups and so forth. I don't understand the concept of people wanting to have all these constant popups and pings telling them that they just won $10 million from a Nigerian prince. It's detrimental to work productivity.

I upgraded to mountain lion a couple weeks ago and I can tell you that the new notification tab is more useless than it seems when you already have Growl and status bar icons to inform you of updates. For Apple to even call this a iOS-to-Mac port a significant feature shows how much they need to go back to the drawing board and think outside the box. MS was smart enough to realize notifications are best kept separate as opposed to a cluttered list and they finally excel in something that Apple didn't innovative first.

#14 Eric

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 13:44

The start screen has all the tools for notifying you of everything you could possibly need to know.

Toasts - (Upper right screen on any app) - These can be set as standard (7s) or long (25s) duration. They're for information like friend sign-ins, e-mail notifications, incoming IMs, etc. They can also be set up as recurring for important messages.

Tiles - Have a TON of different options for displaying updated information about them. This is where you would put information that needs to stay longer than a toast like the fact that you have e-mail and from who. Apps can also create secondary tiles for more detailed information and update those separately from the main tile.

Badges - These go in the bottom right corner of a tile and display a number or glyph relevant to that app.

There are a lot of apps that aren't taking advantage of them yet including the RP Microsoft apps. I'm guessing there are OS X apps that don't take advantage of notifications as well?

There is no scenario I could think of where a notification would be inaccessible if you're using these. Does your app need to alert your warehouse manager that there's a shipment that's late going out? Put it in the tile, update the badge with an alert glyph then post a toast so it can be seen no matter what the user is doing. Is it six months late going out? Make the toast recurring every 5 minutes until the issue is dealt with.

There's no need for a toast history because that information should be going into the tile update rotation when the toast pops up.

#15 Subhadip

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 14:26

Indeed, apps have the option for recurring toast notifications. I have noticed Tweetro notifies me (e.g. a direct message) every 5 minutes or so if I choose not to pay attention (or in the cases mentioned above, if you miss it for whatever reason). By the way, the app does not need to be running for the live tile / notifications to be updated, which makes it all the more effective. For that matter, it keeps updating even if your system is in standby! (OS X ML does have something similar called Power Nap, but not sure if it works well) E.g. in the above case, Tweetro sends up the notification even though I haven't opened it at all since the last reboot. That said, the alpha apps in RP don't seem to work flawlessly, some don't even support notifications yet and some don't update live tiles / notifications correctly, but pretty sure these teething issues will be solved GA time, if not RTM.