iOS has been around for over five years now, and in the time between its '07 reveal (alongside the iPhone) and now, it has changed a lot. Some things, however, have stood the test of time by going unaltered after six major dot iterations. That isn't necessarily a bad thing; rounded squares for app icons make just as much sense now as they did in '07, for example. But for other aspects of iOS, the exact opposite can be said. I'm talking about:
There was a time where all types of notifications, app and system alerts, looked like this;
Then iOS 5 came around, and added a new type of alert. It brought a long overdue upgrade to the notifications system, by introducing an alert style that didn't put a complete halt to whatever you were previously doing; banners. Banners are minimal and provide information in a condensed format that doesn't need to take up the entire screen.
One problem; the pop-up alerts still exist, and have gone unchanged. (for example, alerts don't show an app icon indicator, which banners do despite taking up less space)
Not only are they visually outdated, but they also visually segregate the app-based notifications into two unique UI styles (opaque white vs transparent dark blue). So why not unify the visual forms, and in the process finally get rid of the circa-'07 alert pop-up?
Apps are listed in the notification center; each allow you to set their notifications to either banner or pop-up form. The new alerts would look like this, matching the banner style;
For reference, here's the slim banner view;
Improved App Notifications
Now to get to the meat of the concept; quick-reply. You might've noticed in the above mockups, there's a compose icon to the far right of the notifications. For any type of messaging app, tapping on that icon will open the banner to reveal a compose sheet;
From here, you can instantly reply to an SMS, FB message, twitter mention, etc, without leaving your current app.
(for things like reminder notifications, the compose icon could be a check box instead, allowing you to mark a reminder as 'done' without needing to open the app, etc)
But what about alerts that aren't tied to a specific app, or configurable from the NC settings? Things like permission requests, low battery alerts, wifi network lists, and so on? Visually, these shouldn't be the same as app-based notifications. They are alerts, and tied to the OS rather than an app. These kinds of alerts, would look like this;
(click for video) < open on an iPhone ;)
Just some ideas I thought i'd throw out there. That's all for now, but if you're into UI discussion and would like to follow my future concepts/developments, i'm Sentry_NC on twitter. :)
Thanks, and enjoy!
[EDIT] I've seen some people mentioning/asking about this (on twitter, too); yes I'm the same person who made the switcher concept (Rethinking the App Switcher for the iPhone 5) a while back, which is now currently being developed into a jailbreak tweak.
Speaking of which, if you're a JB developer and would like to turn this concept into a tweak as well, feel free to contact me.
First of all, thanks to the Verge for featuring me again with this concept, and to all of you for the positive (and constructive) feedback and appraisals, via twitter and the comments below.
Worth noting that this was something I made almost two months ago, but never really posted or shared anywhere (apart from my twitter with only a handful of followers at the time), so i'm glad I've shared it here and got a nice conversation going about the idea as well as iOS in general. :)
Also, we're in the news!;
Cult of Mac - Here’s How Jony Ive Should Re-Design iOS 7’s Alerts
Today's iPhone - Awesome iOS concept shows redesigned notifications and UI
iDownloadBlog - Concept: how Jony Ive should redesign iOS alerts
iPhone-Developers - Stunning iOS 7 Notification Center concept shows how it should be
iPhoneinCanada - Check Out This Concept to Improve iOS Notifications and Visuals
And others (sorry if I missed yours).
And lastly (the *real* update :p), I want to let everyone know that (like the switcher concept) a developer and I are currently working on turning this into reality via a jailbreak tweak. :) Stay tuned!