mobile UX —  push notifications ⏰

This is the second part of my blogpost series „7 aspects that improve the UX of your app“.

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As a disclaimer, i must say that this part of my talk/blogpost series is influenced and almost a summary in my own words of this blogpost, because i found it contains all relevant topics that i also encountered and wanted to point out.

Push notifications are a very effective way to engage the users of your app. But if done wrong, they can do great damage to the user experience.

„The good thing about notifications is they remind your users that your app is installed. A bad thing about notifications is they remind your users that your app is installed.“ – Sam Jarman

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71% of users who uninstall an app, do this because of annoying notifications (source).

What can we do to prevent this from happening?

1 permission

Initially, we can ask for permission carefully. We should use one additional alert to explain the value of the notifications to inform the user about the benefits of allowing them or even why your app doesn’t make much sense without them (if that’s the case). When you do that before the official permission alert, the acceptance will be much higher.

2 amount

Try to find out the suitable amount of notifications to be sent to the user. Of course, the tolerated amount depends heavily on the purpose of your app. There’s basically no limit if you have an app where users follow a live soccer event (like the HSV app we built at Evenly), but the limit for a tolerable amount might be very low if you want your users to do/purchase/use something.

3 timing

Think about the best timing for each notification. Keep in mind that your users might be in different time zones and check out if the push service you’re using has the option to send out a notification in the local timezone for the user.

4 wording

Be precise, you only have a very limited amount of words. Maybe you should practice your copywriting skills by using twitter 😉 Or just hire a good copywriter who knows their craft.

5 relevance

Make them relevant: try to personalize the notifications and not send the same content to everyone. If it makes sense in the context of your app, let users choose their preferences and respect those. (I once deleted a news app because they sent me push notifications on topics i didn’t select). You can also personalize them based on the user journey, for example for new users or for users who have an item in their shopping cart.

If it is suitable and helpful, you can use the location of the user. If it’s a travel app, you can provide a relevant feature/information.

6 implementation

In most cases it makes sense to use a 3rd party service, so you don’t have to worry about scaling and reliability and can use their features. Make sure the provider is able to fulfill your needs, like extremely fast push notifications (again, think if a soccer app where your users want to be notified about goals instantly). You might also want to use rich notifications. You can add a picture, a title and a body text. And a little side note: don’t use them for ads (at least this is forbidden by Apple).

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