February 06, 2009

No need to remind me

Not that this is a common use case scenario, but I'll turn a mobile phone off for a few days. I do it because I'm testing a different phone, but a more common use case would be the rare occasion when you turn off your work mobile for the weekend to keep your work/life balance.

Have you noticed that when you turn the phone back on, the first thing it does it remind you for every event that you missed for the last X days?! Reminders are only relevant for the x<event<y time window around the event, where x is a value you set based on personal preference, is y is a short window where you can recover from actually having missed the event.

y is not 3 days!! Telling me I missed a meeting three days ago isn't going to help me a bit. Making it worse, I have to dismiss the 20+ warning dialogs individually (on the iPhone and other phones) before I can actually use the phone to make calls or any other relevant, time sensitive task.

Mobile OS developers should not display notification dialogs for events that occur far in the past. Pick a y value that is relevant (6,12,24 hours?) and don't display alerts for overdue events after that window. They are irrelevant and more importantly, impede user access to the task they want, after they've been overdue for too long.

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