Web notifications: time to cure a disease in our workflow

Introducing Station’s new Notification Center.

Aug 9, 2017 · 4 min read

Notifications came to life with an honorable aim in mind: telling users something new just happened. The sad truth is they have become hacks designed to steal our attention rather than meaningful insights into our work.

A poison in our work life

We can receive up to one notification every 4 minutes. Knowing that it takes the human brain an average of 25 minutes to effectively switch between tasks, it’s no wonder that we are left with the feeling of having been unproductive at the end of our work day.

If you consider the environment most people use to get work done — their browser — and how unadapted it is to the purposes of getting focused on a task, it’s no wonder so much time gets lost. And when it comes to notifications, because browsers treat all tabs as equal, users end up being subjected to a constant flood of bells and whistles calling for their limited attention span.

At Station, we believe to be in a perfect position to solve this problem. In case you are not already a user, we are building a new class of product: a workstation that centralizes all of your work applications in one place. In short we aim to make your work more productive and enjoyable because frankly our traditional browser are light years behind on those matters.

We couldn’t possibly build a workstation without completely rethinking how to handle notifications. In fact by centralizing all your work applications in one place we uncovered a deep frustration many users would tell us about:

I just realize that all my notifications are driving me insane, how can I turn them off?! I need help. (Gilles Bertaux, CEO at Livestorm)

In other words, they were asking us to preserve their mental health. We couldn’t resist but help them out.

Despite their intrusive format, notifications do serve a purpose. But currently, the choice offered to us is either:

  1. turning notifications off entirely, and risk missing out on important stuff, or
  2. continue to be interrupted at the whim of the different apps we use

The undeniable truth is:

Either you run your notifications or notifications run you.

Introducing the notification center

Unfortunately most of us fall let notifications run us, for lack of a better option. There exists one though. We’ve just built it: a notification center that offers users a complete overview and total control over all of their notifications. An image is worth a thousand words, here’s what it looks like…

We’ve designed it so it offers value in two distinct ways:

Insights: be able to visualize all of your notifications across all your work applications within one simple interface. Never miss an important notification and avoid having to switch between apps to stay up to date.

Focus: be able to snooze notifications at times when you need moments of intense focus or during a meeting for instance. Whether it’s for 20 minutes or several hours, you are always in control.

We’ve built the notification center to allow you to not only keep a tight overview of all your notifications at any given time, but also give you the kind of focus and headspace you need to achieve your best work!

Bringing sanity back into the workplace

Notifications play on our FOMO (fear of missing out). Like most ephemeral content, notifications keep us coming back by serving variable rewards, and by making those rewards vanish within a couple seconds. By making notifications more permanent, we are essentially taking the sting out of our deep-rooted fear to miss something uber-important. By allowing users to gain complete control of their notifications, we are hoping to make your work a better place — essentially turning notifications from a slot-machine of relevance to a valuable and central piece of insight in your day-to-day work.

If you are already a Station user, we hope the notification center brings sanity back to your workflow! If you haven’t tried Station yet, it’s probably time to join the pack at getstation.com
Your feedbacks are most welcome at hello(at)getstation(dot)com

From the Station Team.
With love.

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