What seems like the proper way to notify friends that a new friend has joined. Pros and cons for each scenario from experience would be helpful, from a UX perspective I'm interesting and seeing which one can lead to higher user growth and connection without scaring users away.

Scenario 1:

User A signs up and allows app to view contacts for possible friends. Friend B, Friend C, and Friend D don't have an account so no friends are suggested. However, their phone numbers are uploaded to the cloud.

When Friend B signs up the following week, and also allows access to her contacts. Although she doesn't have Friend A in her contacts, she does have Friend C and Friend D. She adds Friend C, but not Friend D.

Friend A wasn't shown bc it's not in the current user's (User B's) contacts. Friend C has now been friended by the current User (User B). Friend D was ignored.

Should Friend A be notified that Friend B just signed up, since Friend B never had the option to add them? Should Friend D NOT receive a notification since Friend B actively did not add them?

Scenario 2:

User B signs up but doesn't give access to her contacts, therefore no friend suggestions are made. However, 2 months ago when User A and User C made accounts their contacts were synced to the server. In their contacts was User B's number. Should we query for all User's with User B's number (we have this bc of a verification step) and send a push notification to User A and User C that User B just joined? Or is this weird for User B, since they didn't provide access to their contacts?

Scenario 3:

Assuming that User B allowed access to contacts, don't sync any of them to the server. Instead, returns list of users whose number appears in User B's contacts, and show a add friend list. For all users who User B adds send them a friend request push notification, and for those she didn't add, send them an alert that User B (someone they might know, has just joined).

2 Answers 2


I kind of get the "LinkedIn" mood here!

Some of the scenarios mentioned are working for LinkedIn: What they do is to make the difference between User 1, who reaches out to contacts and User 2 who reaches out for himself.

This means, even if User 1 denied contact access while signing up, User 2 will still be recommended to connect to User 1 if he is in User 2's contacts.

So User 1 cannot express a "general dislike" of being connected. The question is only about "Do YOU want to contact people", which makes perfect sense to me, since it is a social network - and if I could erase my presence for everyone by saying "no", I'd break the business case.

I'd assume (but I did not prove that yet) that the greatest friction is created if I, as a non registered user, am confronted by a mail that tells me "join my network!" since these users did not have any motivation at all.


Scenario 3 looks reasonable, with one note. We should only alert those non-added users, who previously show they know User B (having him in their shared contacts).

Another idea: when there are not so much users in the service and therefore a little friends, we can be more active notifying about possible friends. But when there are too much new users coming, we probably should mute friend suggesting spam.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.