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I’m working with a client on their notification center for their web app.

They have a business need to send mobile push notifications and also in-app notifications/alert messages for the same goal but with slightly different text (shorter text for the mobile push) AND send them on different dates. However, when the user goes to the notification center, they could either:

See the list of notifications with the two messages related to the same action with different dates (one sent out as a mobile push and the other within the app) - this seems odd and redundant to me.

See the most recently sent message replace the older (so the mobile push was sent first, then the in-app notification sent second, so once the in-app is received the user no longer views the mobile push notification).

Separate the messages out in two tabs in the notification center one for the in-app alerts and the other for the mobile push notifications. Something like the following:

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I haven’t found much on this use case, so any insight would be much appreciated.

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  • Sorry I couldn't understand if you wanted to ask any questions. I have a use case which I'll share below but I'd also like to clarify if you are asking to reconcile how the notification centre should behave on the main platform or across different devices?
    – Eric Chia
    Nov 20, 2020 at 1:09

3 Answers 3

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The confusing part is - if they are for the same action - why then the different dates? The length change is understandable but not good, IMHO. having no context still have a theory that the same effect may be achieved if you have the same message like {short: '...', full: '...'} where in both cases users may switch between 'short' and 'full' yet be default the see a 'short' on mobile and a 'full' on desktops. No idea how to solve the dates difference, still confusing.

Good luck with the project!

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Keep it simple, If there are no meaningful differences in contents of the message across channels, it would be redundant to expose all of its variations in one system.

Popular apps with notification systems such as Netflix, Spotify, Uber Eats, Messenger follow this paradigm.

Before you adopt it however, You need to reconcile the variables you mentioned; Why are the notification messages sent on different dates? Why is the message "slightly different" per channel? How meaningful is the difference?

Additionally, what's the value of showing mobile-push notifications outside the context of mobile? Do users need to be able to identify cross-channel notification message disparity?

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See the list of notifications with the two messages related to the same action with different dates (one sent out as a mobile push and the other within the app) - this seems odd and redundant to me.

What if you kept this structure, but made it less redundant?

If both the in-app and push notification messages were the same, and sent at the same time, you could display the message just once with a single date-time stamp for both channels.

If there are differences, show both message versions and timestamps on one screen. This helps the user compare what messages went out without having to hunt for them on two different lists.

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