Desktop Notifications Spec 0.3

Christian Hammond chipx86 at
Fri Sep 17 03:06:25 EEST 2004

On Thu, Sep 16, 2004 at 05:55:03PM -0400, Bryan Clark wrote:
> On Wed, 2004-09-15 at 21:30 -0700, Christian Hammond wrote:
> > The specification is currently available at:
> > 
> >
> I guess I have a couple of concerns about this since the spec
> incorporates pieces that may shape how the notification system interacts
> with the users.  And I'd like to say that I think you guys are great for
> doing this work, not trying to be critical of your efforts here.

Thanks. Any comments are always welcome. I'll address them as best as
I can.

> Notification Types and Urgency Levels are the two sections that I'm
> concerned about. 
> Perhaps I don't understand it fully, but I don't see the clear idea
> behind Notification Types maybe you could clear this up for me.  I see
> that it is in reference to allowing groupings of notification types,
> what is the end user visible goal of the groupings of notifications via
> type?  Are you expecting lots of notifications from different
> applications of the same type at the same time? (i.e. running
> thunderbird and evolution at the same time and coalescing the new
> message notifications into single popups?)  I'm not sure about this idea
> yet so I'd appreciate some clarification of how you think this is going
> to help users.

Notification types would conceivably let some notification service
display notifications of some types in a specific way. Whether that's
a rendering thing (displaying a new mail notification with an
envelope background) or grouping notifications together. The reason I
wanted to see notifications grouped were for things like "So and so
has signed on." I don't want a thousand of those appearing, but if
they were stacked or grouped in some way, that would be better, imho.

Either way, it's just basically a kind of hint. Nothing has to respect
those values. It's a future expansion/possibilities thing.

> Urgency Levels is the section that is the most concerning from my point
> of view.  What do Low, Medium, High, and Critical mean to the end user?
> I can see how there is the critical "Your computer is on fire!", and low
> "Joe Bob signed on", however I don't see where the others can fit into
> place.  I've been working for a while to compile all the information on
> status notifications in order to write a decent HIG recommendation on
> notifications and so far what I've come up with is that there are two
> types of this style notifications.

I see your problem with the urgency levels, and I've wondered myself
about them. The reason I wanted urgency levels was so that
higher-urgency notifications would always get a higher stacking order,
if too many notifications were on the screen. Also, things like "So
and so has signed on" would be marked as Low urgency, and get the
lowest display priority. Possibly grouping, again, depending on the

Medium would be normal notifications. High, I don't know.

The whole urgency thing could be re-thought, I suppose.

>     1) Requires Interaction from the user
>     2) Has the possibility for interaction from the user
> Beyond these two types there isn't much else that users are concerned
> with and by giving developers choice over more options that they expect
> the user will understand is going to create confusion.  Let me explain
> the two types.  (1) probably maps to the Critical level you already
> have, basically the user needs to acknowledge the notification in order
> for it to go away.  (2) is a notification that can just be a status
> update, however it always includes the possibility for the user to
> interact with the information.  These status messages may go away on
> their own after a certain period of time without user interaction, but
> they always include the ability for users to interact with them.  Note
> that I purposely didn't include a "Require no interaction from the
> user", because these types of notifications are a true mistake in
> interfaces.  As a rule of thumb you should never just pop up message to
> the user informing them of something without giving them options of
> interacting with the information you're presenting; it just becomes
> added noise.

Do you include "So and so has signed on" as #2, or as the "Requires no


Christian Hammond         <>  The Galago Project
chipx86 at      <>
   You can't have everything...where would you put it?
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: not available
Type: application/pgp-signature
Size: 189 bytes
Desc: not available
Url : 

More information about the xdg mailing list