The Problem

In my mobile app, the user creates an artifact and then has to notify a recipient so that they can pick up the artifact. The recipient may or may not be registered with the app. If the recipient is already registered, the workflow is simple as the app can notify the user via push notification or email (per the recipient's preference).

However, if the recipient is not registered, it seems I have two options for the notification:

  1. Have the server send the notification.
  2. Have the user send the email via their email app.

My analysis

  1. Send from server: This has the advantage of less work from the user. Once the user hits the create button to create the artifact, the workflow completes. However, for the recipient to get the email and pay attention, I will need to let the recipient know that the artifact was created by the sender using the sender's real name (I don't really want to ask for that). Also, I'll need to capture and use the recipient's name (otherwise the email would be more generic - Hi there - type.

  2. Send from user's email: This makes the email more personal as it is coming from the sender's email. My app can pre-populate the entire text to where the sender only needs to press Send. However, it means there is one more step that could be confusing to the sender as after creating the artifact they are shown the message controller (using iOS as an example) and unless they hit send, the recipient will not know at all. The obvious advantage is that I don't need real names etc. to make the email personal.

Which of the two options do you think leads to a better user experience that will result in more successful notifications to the recipient?

Since I have no answers so far, may I ask folks to at least comment below if they would find the extra step to send an email from the app annoying or confusing?

  • A well described question.
    – PhillipW
    Commented Sep 9, 2014 at 15:43

1 Answer 1


I've dealt with this in a previous project. User testing (in our case ) confirmed your hypotheses 1. recipients are not pleased / ignore notifications from an unknown app. 2. It's more work and there is a ramping up phase in using the users mail platform.

Our solution was to stress privacy and explain why it would be coming from the user. When the user would send to a non-member he would be prompted through the steps. That was very well received.

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