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I was recently invited to the iOS app beta (thanks!), and immediately after logging in, was presented with a request to send push notifications. While understandable, push notification acceptance rates tend to be much higher if the app waits a little while, until the user has played with the app a bit and sees a benefit to allowing notifications.

Rates tend to improve even further if the user seems to trigger the action that would require a push notification to be sent. For example, answering a question might ask the user if they want notification of future updates to that question; if the user responds "Yes," the app can prompt for push permissions at that moment and be virtually guaranteed of approval. (After all, if they didn't want notifications, why would they have said "Yes" in the first place?)

I'm of the opinion that the app could stand to wait a little while before requesting permission to send notifications. It feels significantly less aggressive and can have a long-term positive effect for users (since more are likely to accept the request). Is it possible to delay that request until the user has poked around in the app a bit?

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  • That's not a bug, and notifications tag got a different meaning on Meta. Commented Apr 18, 2014 at 22:48
  • Thanks for the corrections!
    – Tim
    Commented Apr 18, 2014 at 22:49
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    However; I installed the android version of this solely for the notifications. Assuming it had waited with me I would never have authorised it and probably filed a bug report Commented Apr 18, 2014 at 23:05
  • @mhlester no, push notifications are something very specific to mobile devices. Commented Apr 18, 2014 at 23:33
  • @mhlester still, not sure it's wise to mix those two. Feel free to edit it back in, I won't fight it. :) Commented Apr 18, 2014 at 23:44
  • @ShadowWizard perhaps push notifications were specific to mobile devices back in April. Now? developer.apple.com/notifications/safari-push-notifications
    – crgt
    Commented Jan 9, 2015 at 1:31
  • @crgt aren't those called "desktop notifications"? Commented Jan 9, 2015 at 6:54
  • @ShadowWizard well...the headline on that link reads "Safari PUSH NOTIFICATIONS" so...
    – crgt
    Commented Jan 10, 2015 at 2:53

1 Answer 1

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Once you've logged into the app, it's requesting permission so you can get inbox notifications. Nothing about playing around for a bit would be an appropriate trigger for that with regard to existing users.

If anything, it seems like it might cause confusion for an established user from the website to not start receiving notifications after logging into the app for the first time.

The only instance where I think this would be practical is when the user installs the app and creates a brand new account. At that point there's nothing to notify about, so the prompt could be delayed until the first question or answer is posted.

This use case is virtually non-existent in alpha testing, but that's not to say it's unnecessary. Rather, it's to point out a deficiency in testing with existing users. Their bias may be entirely different from the broader audience. Bravo for recognizing that.

One alternative I might suggest would be a check at the time a post is created to verify notifications are enabled, and provide warning/instruction in the case they aren't. The initial request would still be on first logging in though.

It's an important issue to address, whatever the ultimate solution may be.

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