Starting discussion on a new version of the notification spec

Brian J. Tarricone bjt23 at
Mon Jun 15 10:45:00 PDT 2009

On 06/15/2009 08:10 AM, William Jon McCann wrote:

> Do you have a specific response to the problems that they describe at
> the following?
> I'd be very interested to see it.  I think that rationale is fairly
> compelling actually.

I disagree.  Nothing there seems particularly compelling.  The only 
thing potentially 'compelling' is that, with *their* design choice, 
making notifications support actions is awkward: since their 
notifications don't accept user input (aside from noting mouse-over), 
they can't allow notifications to accept user input without having a 
special case for notifications with actions.  And then you have two very 
different behaviors depending on whether or not the notification has 

That's a design decision by the Ubuntu team and has nothing to do with 
the question of whether or not notifications should have actions.

The bullet points aren't really justifications for not allowing actions; 
they're just suggested alternatives.  The only one that seems like it 
might be a suitable replacement would be the "Ubunutu messaging menu" -- 
though I don't really know what that is, and it's obviously 
Canonical-specific, so one couldn't rely on it being available 
everywhere.  As for unfocused-on-map/non-focus-stealing dialogs, I've 
already covered why I think they aren't a great idea in another mail.

There's only one valid criticism of notifications in this section, and 
it is valid regardless of whether or not you allow actions: the fact 
that notifications block user interaction with stuff under the 
notification.  Canonical has chosen to solve that problem in notify-osd 
in a way that's incompatible with allowing actions.  Again, this has 
nothing to do with whether or not actions are conceptually bad; it's 
just a design tradeoff they've made.


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