WIP Notifications

I’ve been thinking about how to solve the problem of knowing when someone else adds a card/comment to your space.

While this isn’t a newsletter, this is tangentially related to closing the loop, Strategy Letter: Closing the Loop


  • Tells you about new activity on your spaces
  • Encourages more back-and-forth responses/replies in a space
  • Notifications should be relevant to the user
  • Easy to opt out of/unsubscribe

Usage Scenarios

  • Someone I don’t know adds new content to my open space
  • A collaborator adds new content to a closed or private space

I don’t think I’ll cover scenarios related to sending notifications to non-members, eg.

  • I’m not a member of an open space, but I’ve posted to the space and someone else adds content after I do

Still deciding on…

Do you think notifications should be via email, or should only exist within the interface (e.g. the classic twitter-style ‘bell’ :bell: pattern).

In-app notifications:

  • PRO? keeps everything kinopio related in one place
  • CON? potentially distracting from the process of creating inside kinopio

Email notifications

  • PRO? emails get pushed to you, instead of waiting till the next time you use Kinopio
  • CON? some people hate email and/or get too much email already (I personally love email, but I use fastmail and am very diligent about life)

In the case of email: Even if new content is constantly being added, at most you will only receive one email an hour (or day – not sure what the max sending interval should be)

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Example of in-app


Example of email


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I think I would appreciate both types of notifications. Consider how I use Discourse: sometimes I have the forum up, and I see the in-app notifications. At other times, I’m not at my computer and I get an email, and that notifies me of new content. If possible, I just trigger off this notification and log into the app to see everything that has updated. I prefer seeing the content within the context of the app, rather than reading it in email because there is limited context there. thoughts?


I’ll start with in-app notifications, and maybe add emails later.

First look at the button , just a count, trying to make it as un-distracting as possible

Screen Shot 2021-01-15 at 11.56.40 AM

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dummy data ui prototype,

Screen Shot 2021-01-15 at 2.52.28 PM
the display of notifications is really similar to tagDetails (notifications are similarly grouped by space)

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awesome, nice consistency there

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Both if I’m an infrequent user. If I’m a frequent user, I think I’ll be looking at the in-app stuff way more and clearing it out routinely and prefer not to receive emails.


prototype looks good!! agree with the sentiments above, this would suffice for me but emails would be impt to draw people who login less frequently back.


clicking to view the card/space you’re being notified about


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Here’s how the emails will work I think:

  • Every ~20hours the system will send you an email with your unread notifications, and mark them all as read for you. So if you get 5 notifications at 1pm and check the app at 2pm you’ll see a ‘5’. If you go > 20hours without checking the app, you’ll get the email and the next time you open kinopio you’ll see a ‘0’. You can still click to see your old notifications, but none will be marked as new
  • You’ll be able to unsubscribe from the email with an unsubscribe link, and also in kinopio (via user → settings).
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That’s nice. I would want to be able to reference this list after clicking on it. How far back would the history go?

it’ll return the last 50 or so notifications , this isn’t meant to be a long term archival reference.

Although there will be a new api route for getting your notifications that you can periodically poll yourself

alternatively, I can send email notifications at a faster frequency , eg every 10 minutes if you have new notifications. Additionally, sending notifications maybe don’t mark the comment as read on kinopio itself either?

This might enable more conversations? It acts a bit closer to what discourse does by default I think

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I was going to say I like this about Discourse, but wasn’t sure if I was the only one.

There are a lot of options in Discourse. I have mine turned way up because I like to be overnotified, but I know I’m more extreme. It’s hard to know what a healthy default would be. I can see people asking for a setting per-space for whether to get notifications. You don’t want to be too noisy, but you can always turn it off (which is status quo), so maybe that means you can err on the side of chattier?

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got the email notifications working/styled . you can click anywhere on an individual notification (the space name, user name, card name) to open kinopio to that space with the card opened

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user prefs for managing email notifications

the newsletter doesn’t exist yet

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ok looks like notifications are dev complete. Next steps are to QA and write help docs.

Because I’m flying to San Diego from Toronto this weekend, I’ll probably be a bit dead, but I think it’s safe to say expect notifications to ship early next week :canoe:

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just shipped it, writing up some docs now. Wonder who the first notification will be sent to :slight_smile:

lmk how it goes

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btw, what’s the algorithm you settled on? how long do I have to wait for an email notification to trigger?

Just added a help doc about it:

When you view your notifications in Kinopio, those notifications will be marked as read. Every 10 minutes, the system collects all the notifications that haven’t been read and sends you an email about them.

so notifcations have status for both isRead and isEmailed, if it’s read then it’s not emailed. If it’s emailed it’ll still show the count for unread notifications in the app (more details on that part of notifications in updated api docs)