Indent Labs
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Indent Labs

Notifications on Notebook.ai

Since we first launched in 2016, Notebook.ai has continued to grow into a world-class worldbuilding tool providing all kinds of features across the entire worldbuilding process. As the site naturally gets more featureful and complex, I think it’s extremely important to streamline and simplify as often as possible.

Recently, I’ve been adding notices around the site that serve a slew of purposes: some point out features users might not know about, some display limited-time messages to all users, some announce new features, and so on. Having dialogs all over the site works, but clutters the page, aren’t recoverable after you dismiss them, and aren’t available unless you happen to be looking at the page they’re on.

To streamline messages for you, I’m adding site-wide notifications.

Keeping notifications distraction-free

A big paradigm I’ve followed when designing Notebook.ai is that tools should stay out of your way and let you focus on what you’re building. Notifications, on the other hand, are usually built specifically to grab your attention and say, “Hey, there’s something here you should look at instead!”

Instead of a bright red number that shows up whenever any little thing happens anywhere (looking at you, Facebook!), our notifications are designed a little differently.

  1. The notification icon fills in and subtly changes when you have unread notifications. No notification count is shown and no bold, distracting colors get introduced.
Notification icons for “no unread notifications” (left) and “unread notifications” (right).

2. The notification icon only changes when you reload the current page or navigate to a new page. This prevents a potential distraction from popping up while you’re writing or working on something, yet makes your notifications immediately available as soon as you’re done with whatever you’re doing.

3. Notifications never expire and you can always browse old notifications. This is meant to reduce the urgency felt by a new notification: at the bottom of your notification dropdown, there’s a link for “View all notifications”. Clicking this will expand your notifications to a full-page layout where you can browse back and view past notifications, too.

An example of notifications appearing on Notebook.ai

The kinds of notifications you can expect

For now, I’m limiting notifications on Notebook.ai to actionable, one-time messages. The following actions will generate a notification right now:

  • You have been added as a collaborator to someone else’s universe
  • You have been removed as a collaborator from someone’s universe
  • One of your universe’s collaborators has stopped collaborating
  • An automated AI analysis of one of your documents has completed.
    (Learn more about the AI analysis available to you here.)
  • A new feature is available (like notifications themselves!)
  • You’ve activated a prepaid Premium Code
  • You’ve subscribed to a Premium subscription

There’s a lot of really exciting features in the pipeline that I’ll have more news about soon, and several of them will make use of the new notifications system instead of cluttering the site with notices. I think this feature will enable a powerful baseline of communication between you and the worldbuilding tool you choose to use! :)

Happy worldbuilding!

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