Notifications and Alerts are Disruptive


The latest beta release of iOS introduces a new feature that allows developers to prompt users to rate their apps. The rating is selected and submitted without leaving the app. It is presented as an alert, using the standard system appearance.

As they go on to say, these are annoying. I agree.

iOS already has a feature for communicating information passively: enhanced notifications. These are a fantastic way for users to interact with content without having to switch to another app and without having to interrupt their current task.

I believe that the notification pattern could improve the effectiveness of the rating feature.

Again, I agree; notifications would be better. But notifications are disruptive, too, so they’re not OK.

Users don’t need to be interrupted from whatever they’re doing to rate your app. They don’t care at all about your ratings; those are about you, and they care about themselves. You can use notifications to help them do what they want to do, but using notifications to get them to do what you want them to do is not OK.

And while I understand that you may need to occasionally ask them to help you out by rating your app or writing a review, you don’t ever need to interrupt them to do that.

Ideally, you could ask for reviews in a Settings or About screen inside your app. I’d even be OK with an unobtrusive bar at the top or bottom of the screen outside of the Settings or About. Even sending an email is better; if they use sensible notification settings in Mail, it won’t interrupt them, and they’ll see it when they’re already reading their email.

Don’t have a way to contact users via email? Try Curtis Herbert’s approach: let them sign up for your newsletter inside the app.

Asking for reviews via notification or alert is never OK.

If you want to petition Apple to change this, ask for something that’s not going to harm your users.