Web Notifications, Part 5: Live Polling

Bringing users into the conversation with real time questions and answers.

Photo by Daniel Sorabji for AFP/Getty Images
We sent this to users just as polls were closing in the UK
  • There are a limited number of useable lines in the notification body before it cuts off. Similar to the character limit, a notification can only be 9 lines long before the text gets cut off, even while expanded. For others looking to run polls, this means you need to consider the number of answers you offer.
  • Users seemed to understand the UI of how to operate the carousel of options. From the data returned on the issues poll, we can see that the fourth answer in the carousel was the second most popular, suggesting that users understood how to move through the options.
  • Randomize the options to reduce bias in the data. Perhaps in contrast to the previous point above, the first option was the most popular, suggesting there were a fair number of users who accidentally tapped on the first button or did not understand the UI. When we next run a poll, we’ll try randomizing the buttons to further test out this assumption, and probably work to further refine the UI.
  • Users were interested in polls, but did not necessarily rate them high in value. In the survey we sent after the EU referendum experiment, users marked the polls as the format they would be least likely to sign up for again. However, it may be likely that users are less eager to sign up for a notification format (a poll) when it isn’t associated with a topic they’re interested in. It’s early, and as we further develop our poll copy and formatting we need to keep testing polls in various ways to see if users find them relevant and compelling opportunities for interaction.

The Guardian Mobile Innovation Lab

An innovation team in the Guardian US newsroom exploring storytelling and delivering news on small screens. Funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Madeline Welsh

Written by

Editor @Google Earth | @GdnMobileLab @NiemanLab, @Studio20NYU, @CairoReview alum

The Guardian Mobile Innovation Lab

An innovation team in the Guardian US newsroom exploring storytelling and delivering news on small screens. Funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.