How would you change Windows Phone's notification system?

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from  Arizona
| May 12, 2012


As we get closer to the end of 2012, our conversation about potential and Windows Phone will ultimately have to change. While talking about the great things that Windows Phone could possibly have, or will have, at some point down the line is great, there’s just a time where Microsoft will ultimately have to deliver on that potential. Or let the potential slip away and leave us wanting more. With the next major update set to be unveiled at some point later this year, Windows Phone 8 could very well change the landscape that Microsoft’s mobile OS finds itself on.

Personally, I think there’s a few different areas that Microsoft needs to change Windows Phone up to make it a worthwhile mobile operating system for me. The truth is, while I do believe that Windows Phone’s “at a glance” fundamental system approach is boring in the long-run, I understand the concept and think that Microsoft has a nice idea. However, while the glance may be enough to draw in new customers, I think it’s this feature that will ultimately be one reason why people leave the system.

Simply put, the notification system isn’t that great. In fact, I think it’s probably the worst in the mobile platform race right now. It is the worst if we are comparing the leading manufacturers.

The Live Tiles and Hubs are great, and they’re certainly a new and unique way to find out what’s going on in your world. But, the moment you don’t have an application on your Home screen, the notification system falls flat. There isn’t a way to find notifications for other applications you may have loaded on your phone. If you miss the initial pop-up banner on the top of the display, then you’ll never know you were notified.

A few people I’ve spoken to regarding this predicament have suggested that Microsoft deserves a pass because Windows Phone is new. I just don’t subscribe to this way of thought. To me, it doesn’t matter that Windows Phone is “new,” and all the other platforms are old. It’s not like these other older platforms were a secret, and Microsoft was unable to see how notifications worked on them.

They should have been able to see how mobile operating systems like Android, webOS, BlackBerry, and even iOS handled notifications, and grew from there. We shouldn’t be talking about how Microsoft’s notification system deserves a pass, but how it’s good but could be better.

It’s a simple fix, too. Just make a way for the user to find all their notifications, in one simple area, and accessible. It doesn’t have to be a drop-down window. It could just be an extra swipe of the finger to the right, passed the list of applications, and there you have it. Your notifications, listed nicely, and ready for your attention.

There are different ways that Microsoft could enable notifications on a broader scale, because while the Live Tiles are great, they just don’t cover all the bases.

And, honestly, the notification system is one of the biggest reasons I have a problem with Windows Phone. While I think the OS in itself can get boring after awhile, it’s the fact that notifications aren’t easily accessible if they aren’t on the Home screen that is the worst part of the whole experience.

I want to hear from you, whether you use Windows Phone or not, as to how you think Microsoft could tap into the potential of the mobile OS and make notifications even better. And it has to go beyond, “Just put all your apps on the Home screen!” please. I look forward to seeing what you have to say.