First-Class Citizens

Today was a big move for Facebook and I spent some time today thinking about what Home could mean for iOS:


A lot of the notifications in iOS are attributed to actions that people take. Liked a photo, sent you an email, etc. iOS notifications already send you metadata along with the message itself (this is why you can swipe a notification from Tweetbot, for example, and it will take you directly to a Twitter user’s info.) So why not allow a service to send along a user ID with the notification? If you get a notification that a Facebook friend (already synced with your Contacts) commented on a photo of yours it could then be displayed as “[profile pic] John A. commented on your Facebook photo…” instead of “[Facebook logo] Facebook: John A. commented on your photo…” 1 It’s a subtle difference but I think one is better at emphasizing what someone actually did instead of which app is the intermediary.

What I really like about this idea is it instantly allows for identities to exist without relying on a centralized source. That’s what Facebook is to almost every user, for a lot of things that they do online. This idea is one of the aspects of The Web We Lost, and I think that there’s still an opportunity for this to happen, perhaps now directly in response to what Facebook is trying to achieve with Home.


I don’t have much to comment on this except to say: Yes, yes, a million times yes. Apple needs to make modal messaging happen on iOS. There’s a precedent for something similar with the Facebook and Twitter sharing UI, and this alone (meaning just text input, not showing an entire conversation) would allow quick replies without the context shift of, swish, changing apps.

Apple could receive a consolation prize for simply adding a “Back to App” button in Messages if you were directed there from a notification. Google does this well with the Youtube iOS app, which uses URL schemes behind the scenes.

  1. Strangely enough Facebook Home doesn’t seem to do this for 3rd party notifications, including Instagram, as seen in a screenshot (after scrolling down a bit). ↩︎