TAOI: Android Oreo Notifications

The architecture of information:

The way notifications work is one of the most important design features of smartphones. Your phone is always with you and always connected to the internet, so you want it to alert you when something important comes up. However, many apps want to capture your attention for reasons that aren’t aligned with yours. If you don’t want to fiddle with settings, you can easily become overwhelmed with trivial notifications that bury the important stuff.

Smartphone operating systems have traditionally presented notifications in a chronological list. Oreo — latest version of Android — is trying something different. Dieter Bohns explains in a review of Oreo for The Verge:

my favorite new feature in Oreo is the more readable notification shade, which orders your alerts by priority. The “Major Ongoing” alerts for things like playing songs or navigation will be pinned to the top slot, so they don’t get lost. Below that is a section Google calls “People to People,” for messaging alerts. Then, there’s “General” for everything else, and a new section called “BTW” that’s shoved down to the bottom.

I’m curious to see how well this works for people with lots of notifications. Who determines what should be in the “Major Ongoing” category? The “BTW” label is also curious — I wonder how many non-geeky people know that stands for “by the way.” (And also, what determines that something belongs in the BTW category?) In any case, this seems like an interesting approach to improving the notifications experience on the phone.