Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion gave Mac users some parity with iOS users through the introduction Notification Center. OS X Notification Center is a non-intrusive way of alerting Mac users of incoming messages, like emails, appointments and OS X updates, through badges or alerts. Badges are little notifications that appear in the top right corner of the screen for five seconds then slide away. While the badge is still present, one can click it and be transported to the specific application and particular message. Alerts are a little more intrusive as they require action to be taken (close, open) before they disappear.
The idea behind Notification Center is to let the user know that a new message has come in, but not to disturb the current work flow. Notification Center also has a side bar to the right that allows for viewing of several different notifications, from different apps, all at once. That said, Notification Center has much growing up to do, and below are some suggestions we have for Notification Center in OS X 10.9:
1) Add Twitter and Facebook: iOS already has this. Why Mountain Lion did not include these two apps is a mystery. Facebook and Twitter alerts are as important (or more so) to many users than Mail and Calendar reminders.
2) More Customization: iOS Notification Center allows for selecting specific mail boxes to cause alerts or badges. OS X 10.9 should bring OS X to parity or go further.
- Allow specific InBoxes or email addresses to cause a notification instead of just all messages from Mail.app.
- Allow users to select how many lines of message can be displayed with in a notification. Right now the default is only one line (plus the sender). Being able to see two, three or four lines would be far more user friendly.
- Finally allow users to set the time on how long a notification appears. Five seconds is a nice default, but is so draconian. Instead allow users to select the time from a reasonable range. Sometimes five seconds is just to quick to take notice and process the notification before it disappears.
3) RSS Feeds: If Apple won't put RSS Feeds back into their Mail.app, then Notification Center is the next best place to do it — and arguably a better place. Allow for the management of RSS feeds right in the heart of the OS.
In summary what we are looking for is a Notification Center that truly handles all incoming messages and alerts: email, calendar reminders, Tweets, Facebook posts, RSS feeds and more. If Apple does that with OS X 10.9, it will have a real winner on its hands.
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