I’ve been working with Jeff Balogh at Mozilla (@jeffbalogh) to consider the best way to approach push notifications for Firefox. We first explored how it could work with current desktop notification styles in Windows and Linux, as well as the new Mountain Lion notifications set to come out soon. We also considered how it could work as an Apple menubar extra and integrate with other operating systems, be displayed in the Firefox home tab, and use current mobile notification systems on iPhone and Andriod. You can see our first discussion sketches and notes here. (Add-ons documentation PDF, here)
In many cases you shouldn’t notice the browser. Once you do, it’s usually because it’s slow or gives you an “oh snap…” or some annoyance. The only time a browser is valuable to most users is when it’s silent and obedient. I’m curious how to add more value to the browser again. It doesn’t need to be a destination, but perhaps a mediator between content source, desktop, and user.
We’ve decided to first start with a Firefox add-on in order to test interaction, usability, and integration of various content types. The screenshots to the right are selections from the wireframes. Take a look for a preview of what we’ve been working on.
Next steps are to work on visual design and do some testing - both on the technical side and to see how users react to what we have done. I am also interested in user behavior for notifications in general.
Below are some blog posts and resources focused on notifications if you’d like to read more. I think it’s one of the most important and interesting topics to address this year for browsers, desktop, and mobile.