So, I'm in this situation. I have a widely used and strongly advertised feature in my app, that, like almost any other features in my app, does not require a user login.

Here's the problem. Say, I need to change access to the feature, so that only logged in users can use it. I don't have any control over the change, as it is a government request.

Here's the situation:

  • No control over enforcement of change
  • Not everyone has access to/can create a user account
  • Login required for future access to that commonly used feature
  • Enforcement needs to occurr pretty much as soon as possible.

How does one handle a situation like that?

  • How do I notify the user of that change?
  • Who should I notify about the change? (every user, only the ones using the feature, users that aren't logged in, users who are using the feature but aren't logged in?)
  • How long prior to the change should I notify users?
  • How can I explain to users without the ability to create an account that the feature won't be available anymore?
  • How long, if at all, after the change takes effect should I have a message when trying to use the feature without a login, informing users about the circumstances of the recent change, rather than just telling them that the feature requires login?
  • Through which channels should I inform users about the change? (In-App general, In-App when using the feature, Push Notification?)
  • Why inform the user prior to the change, instead of pushing the change and informing them as soon as the try to use it?

Thanks a lot for your help. Really looking forward to your insightful answers :)

1 Answer 1


My first thought - and I hope to have time to expand upon this later - is that you should have some sort of alert notifying people of the change about a month before it goes into effect, though this time interval should definitely take into account how frequently your users interact with the feature. I would trigger this alert for any users who are not logged in and try to access the feature. You might consider a single push notification to all users at the start of this "warning" period.

After the launch, only show the alert for people who are not logged in and try to access that feature, though you might give them a link to register from the alert. It's probably fair to always keep this alert in place for anyone not logged if they attempt to access the feature; once they have tried a couple of times, they will either learn to stop trying, or to register. If they are not allowed to register for some reason, that is a whole different problem.

I would consider the tone and wording of your message carefully. It is fair to make sure the users realize that this is an externally enforced change and that you feel bad about it, but remain concise and always respectful of your users.

Without knowing more about your app and audience, I don't want to commit to much beyond this. But based on what explain, this feels like a good place to start.

  • Makes sense, you make some very good points, especially consideration of wording to ensure it is externally enforced. I know this question is really kind of specific, and recommended soloutions will differ for other people in similar situations, but I feel like your answer is generally very good and detailed, yet still somewhat broadly applicable for other situations, which is why I'll mark your answer as accepted. Aug 29, 2016 at 22:06
  • I do still have a few minor questions though. How long would you set the "warning" period, given that the app is used in everyday life (of students), and the feature to be restricted is quite popular and useful? And what's the minimum you'd recommend generally irregardless of feature? Also, thanks again for your great answer. Really appreciate it. Aug 29, 2016 at 22:09
  • So much depends on your use cases that I couldn't possibly say with authority. But barring any more info, based on what you told me I'd probably try this: Push notification to ALL users a month ahead of the change; then until the change, deliver a warning message upon triggering the feature to anyone not logged in, with the option to log in or register. When the change happens, change that message but keep it for anyone who tries to use the feature, and give them those same options (if available to them). Maybe also the option to be alerted if the feature becomes available to them.
    – Mattynabib
    Aug 30, 2016 at 18:15

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