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If you open (on your desktop) Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest, you can edit your email notifications settings, but obviously not your mobile settings.

If you open your mobile app, however, why are the email settings not available and only mobile notifications can be edited? Wouldn't users prefer the convenience of editing all their notifications in one place?

  • Why is it obvious that I cannot change my mobile settings from a desktop browser? – Marjan Venema May 5 '14 at 15:45
  • Maybe just because email notifications are becoming more and more a thing of the past for social networks, and given that the mobile apps appeared after the desktop site they just didn't bother implementing these settings because so few people use them (you disable them once and for all and never think about them again). – user42730 Apr 8 '15 at 12:54
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This question is probably beginning to get out of date as some of the key mobile apps mentioned are now providing the ability to turn off email notifications via their mobile app:

However it's interesting that not all of these key mobile apps are providing that functionality (examples below do not provide the ability to turn off email notifications):

With users now spending more time consuming media and information through mobile devices (http://techcrunch.com/2014/08/21/majority-of-digital-media-consumption-now-takes-place-in-mobile-apps/), I can't imagine users wanting to change devices / go to their desktop to change an email notification setting. Users are beginning to expect on-demand action and results and that trend doesn't look like changing any time soon (http://www.businessinsider.com/the-on-demand-economy-2014-7?IR=T).

With popular apps such as Facebook and Pinterest now giving the ability to control email notifications, other apps that are providing a fragmented experience on how notifications are controlled will now create a frustrating user experience by needing to change devices for a simple setting adjustment.

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I would argue it with different types of user scenarios.

On the mobile platform you are "on the road" with a limited amount of screen space and more essential, limited amount of time. So, people may not be concerned very often with having all setting functionality available every time.

On the other side on the desktop, you have a bigger screen, you sit in front of your computer. So you could assume, that the user in front of the desktop has more time to focus, or to put it in another way, has more time for more specific tasks.

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    Welcome to UX.SE! Can you refer to any external resources or examples to support your answer? – Charles Wesley May 5 '14 at 15:28
  • if mobile browsers give you an option to switch to the desktop mode and do everything which you can do on your computer, i dont see any logic behind not allowing users to make changes in the app itself. UI will be very complicated but what if i do not have a computer at all? – Guru Munishwar Mar 2 '15 at 4:22
  • As long I have no statistical numbers I must say, I would guess, that the percentage of people, who have a smart phone and are using apps, and who does NOT have access to a computer is probably very low, or not so significant for business. – Stefan Wasserbauer Mar 3 '15 at 9:30
  • I see what you're saying, there is an element of that but I know a lot of people (including myself) that use their mobile to surf the net casually at home. – Wander Apr 7 '15 at 12:22
  • @StefanWasserbauer "Access to a computer" may not mean convenient access to a computer. One's only access to a desktop computer that isn't locked down by work IT may be through a public library, and libraries in a lot of cities keep inconvenient hours. – Damian Yerrick Jan 26 '16 at 20:39
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Two Words: Different Devices

Example: I wear spectacles when you don't. This is like configuring my eyes with glasses to get the same input as yours when looking at the same thing.

My eye configuration won't suit you and yours won't suit mine.

For the sake of argument, there may be a provision given for configuring the settings of your desktop from mobile but that would defeat the purpose of user experience as it's like writing something with your eyes closed.

  • I think I know what you're getting at (and I agree if so) but the example is off. Your example uses two different people with very basic differences. The question is asking about the same person using the same service, just on different devices. So, why can I do things on the desktop that I can't do on mobile? – Evil Closet Monkey Dec 13 '15 at 18:07
  • The two person example I used was to make it clear that desktop and mobile though using same service are not the same but only similar devices. Of course the service would provide you everything for your mobile device as well. But settings are related to each particular device only. Providing the settings on each other device won't be valid – Siva-Dev-Wizard Dec 15 '15 at 4:08

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