Back in July 2020, Microsoft detailed the efforts it was taking to make browser notifications less annoying in Edge. The firm enabled what it called “quiet notification requests”, a feature that automatically disabled the full-blown notification request prompts – unless the user explicitly turns it on – and replaced it with a bell icon in the address bar. It also suggested that it was working to tweak the experience based on user feedback.
Today, the Redmond giant announced adaptive notification requests for Edge and detailed the changes that it is making based on user feedback. The company says that while quiet notifications reduced the number of prompts served to users, it also resulted in a decline in acceptance rates for some sites that earlier had higher acceptance numbers. Additionally, feedback suggested that users were unaware of how to turn notifications back on for their preferred sites.
As a result, the company is beginning to disable quiet notification requests by default as part of an experiment. In place of this feature, the company is building a new approach – which it calls adaptive notification requests – that tailors the experience based on data from how users interact with a site’s prompts. This means that if more users tend to block notifications for a particular website, Edge will learn to automatically silence prompts from those sites and turn them into quiet notifications.
The approach builds a scoreboard of sorts in the backend based on how users interact with the full-blown prompts. Depending on whether users allow, block, or ignore the prompts, the site earns negative or positive points, depending on which the requests are made silent or otherwise. The firm says that it will continue to tune the “most effective score threshold” to ascertain the balance between “easily subscribing to the desired notifications and the annoyance of unwanted notification requests”.
Those that want to turn all notifications silent can head into the Notifications setting within ‘Cookies and site permissions’ to turn on quiet notification requests manually. Additionally, when a user explicitly blocks notifications three times in a row, the browser will automatically turn on quiet notifications.
The adaptive notification requests feature is now rolling out to users running Edge 88. The firm adds that it has seen positive results from its experiments in the Canary, Dev, and Beta channel builds. Developers can also read through the company’s recommendations for websites on the best practices to improve acceptance rates.