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Windows Phone notifications history concept

We've read many complaints (especially in the comments and on our forum) that Windows Phone lacks a central notification centre, Apple's iOS being a good example, and we tend to agree. Toast notifications on Microsoft's platform disappear after a few seconds only to be lost in cyber space with the inability to view what has been missed. Let's face it - we're not glued to our phones 24/7.

Introducing a concept by Kasser Riaz (click the image for larger / better quality version), which looks relatively promising with how it doesn't look as though the simplistic beauty of the OS would be in jeopardy should an implementation such as this be carried out, unlike some concepts we've seen posted around the web.

As one can see when looking at the concept above, Riaz has provided an idea for how Microsoft and the Windows Phone team could create their own notifications centre (or "History") in this case. Keeping everything simple and clutter-free, swiping to the right on the home screen will bring up the app list as usual, while swiping on the left will land you at the notification history list.

As well as system alerts, messages and email notifications, third party app alerts are also displayed with a short description and the time stamp. It's not only a user-friendly way of keeping the UI chrome and clutter free, but enables the user to view their history of notifications in a Metro format. But would this suffice as a solution to a unified notifications centre for Windows Phone, or should we be looking elsewhere?

As a side note: what do you guys make of the wallpaper with transparent tiles and a more Windows 8 feel?

Thanks Kasser for sending the concept in!

Rich Edmonds
Rich Edmonds

Rich Edmonds is Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him over on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

  • Cool
  • That would kinda leave no purpose for " Live Tiles ". They would just be cosmetic, unless it's just for apps not pinned to your start screen
  • True, but don't forget that not all applications have useful live tiles that display info about pushed notifications. Whatsmore if you have a live tile pinned that does in fact provide this kind of info, if it's not up at the top, you sometimes miss it for a little while. I don't think that having live tiles is an excuse for not having a notification center of some sort.
    Crosses fingers for Apollo.
  • Agree 100%.
  • Weather? Latest news? Number of unread e-mails?
  • holy crap that ui looks pretty awesome!!! i really think MS should consider offering more flexibility in styling the appearance of the interface - like having gradient tile colors and setting a background image... its not that much unsimplification of the metro design!!!!
    anyways ... a history overview would be very nice. its just one of those very simple features missing in the OS. don't know why MS hasn't recognized that so far...
  • I like this. It's easier to figure out what you are missing and stuff, and I use the tiles as shortcuts for my commonly used apps anyway.
    Besides, live tiles still show information for weather apps, calenders, etc in a decidingly widget way.
    This does remind me of MeeGo.
  • How does it remind you of Meego???
  • The emphasis in MeeGo is on swiping, so this would appear familiar to those who have used that OS.
  • come on, are you serious? how is this NOT MeeGo?
    this is a MeeGo rip-off
    you have a menu page, live feed page (here it is the history pane), then instead of MeeGo's multitasking pane, it is the start pane.
    This is MeeGo, hopefully Nokia can implement something like  this in their Windows Phone Apollo
  • Wow!  You seem impassioned; indignant almost! 
    I don't know of MeeGo; however, the Harmattan-Meego skin, I have seen on the N9.
    This is a concept, for the record.  And Windows Phone has always 'swiped'; So adding another pane/screen to swipe to is just that - another pane to swipe to. 
    And as far as Nokia implementing - I take it you mean the Swipe UI?  An 'edge to edge' swipe as in the Swipe UI is OK.
  • It's MeeGo lite, if you must. Instead of social feeds/notifications in one page, apps in the second and multitasking windows in the 3rd, it's History/Notifications, Start Screen and list of apps, with the back button serving as the multitasking.
    But yes, it does reminds me quite a bit of MeeGo. And it's a good thing. Since the Swipe UI is well-designed. In fact, if Microsoft allows Nokia to Nokia-ify WP a little, I hope they can bring in the double tap to wake up the phone, and the always-on clock and notifications.
  • Reminds me of MeeGo, too. Hope this happens :)
  • Love it. I think they should take a few pages out of the meego playbook. Swiping on the N9 is a joy and it wouldn't hurt to have a notification center. Taking away the "swipe right" arrow I think is also an improvement. People know to swipe. If not a notification center, definitely a "me" tile with a swipe left at home screen.
  • Damn swipe to the left, swipe to the right.. COOL
  • Nice... I once posted this idea in a comment a long time ago but didnt create a fancy image. Hope it does come true though because it is a simple yet useful thing.
  • Nice work!
    I also like the light gradients added to the tiles. I wish Microsoft was reading this!
    WP definitely needs some sort of notifications history, and this looks a great way to add it without losing the simplicity.
  • This would be awesome.  I would love this feature.
  • Want it
  • Seems to negate the function of live tiles a bit but at this point, when all everyone does is compare the big three (ios, android and windows phone), it seems as though a notification centre of some sort is a given on smartphones. I mean even a lot of non smartphones have some type of notification history built in.
  • Its like meego in a way
  • WANT.
  • I really hope that Microsoft will let us use wallpaper on the start screen.
  • Same here. The black and white background get boring after a while.
  • deffinately should be implemented.
  • This is a crazy-good idea. An abosolutely natural addition to the OS. I hope to see it become a reality.
  • they should put it the me tile and i dont "think" MSFT is going make so you can put custom backrounds its not going to on windows 8
    or like this
  • even if they implement that way it would still be a welcome addition the me tile is cool and everything but at the same time it seems to be very limited however they decide to implement it idc as long as they do
  • Or instead of the Me tile, your notifications center is called 'Me'. Includes the functions of the Me tile with the functions of the notifications center. There, totally MeeGo-fied.
    It will be ironic to see this on the Lumia 800 though, that's for sure.
  • why because the lumia 800 is just a design off of the n9 that already ran meego? lol
  • Yep. It will be ironic how Nokia will ditch its OS only for Microsoft to pick them up and implement it on WP7.
    Of course that's if MS does it. :)
  • i mean itd be welcome it isnt as if it wouldnt be implemented badly and then they get all the preferences from microsoft anyways so they benefit from their own ideas :D
  • True. Still, it will be ironic.
  • We need this!
  • I like the notification concept very much, but I think background customization gets tricky, and I flat out don't care for transparent live tiles. Metro is supposed to be about simple, flat colors. WP7 only allows a narrow set of theme colors, because they all work reasonably well against both the white and black backgrounds. If you choose a busy background or one with poor contrast, it could really make the start screen look garish or even unreadable. However, I agree that a start screen full of monochrome live tiles is pretty boring. I think that it would be nifty if the user could set a custom background color for each live tile (within a range of colors, of course). So, yellow for Mail, blue for IE, etc. In Windows 8, each live tile can have a unique color, so this doesn't seem like too much of a stretch to me.
  • As I have said before, I don't understand why choices is a bad word in this community. If there is a backgtound image or pattern that makes the start screen look bad, then you should have the choice to change it. Or if you don't want a background image of any kind at all, then stick with solid colors. Simple as that. At the end of the day, I just want the choice to change it up. If someone wants to keep things simple, then go right ahead. 
    And to me, the accent colors need to be expanded far beyond a range of colors. I would love to see some kind of color wheel that allows a crap load of possibilities. Personally, I eliminate some colors based on not caring for the particular shade or just flat out more feminine like. So I am left with a handful that I tend to use over again. If I can get a system where I can tweak colors to be a shade darker or lighter, then that would be awesome. 
    I know for some, these things are silly and not related to having a functioning device. But for me personally and alot of folks, we like to have the option of our devices reflecting our moods or personalities further than what we get out of the box
  • I want this now.
  • This looks great!
  • Integration in the Me tile would be nice, isn't the integration part of what Metro is about? As for the background, why not use the same concept as the Zune software, and if you want solid colors, leave that too? I know at least I would use that and it would make my friends more likely to switch.
  • Sorry for the double post. Just thought of theme idea similar to windows 7.
  • I would love to see wifi, airplane mode, 3G and etc toggler as seen on Android. Using tile as toggler doesn't feel the same as actual toggler.
  • Second this/bump this suggestion. I'd also like MSFT to consider implementing a couple of Palm ideas: 1) swipe-up to close app, 2) Swipeable discrete notifications on main screen (with minimal info in display) and 3) a hardware toggle switch on the top of the phone for airplane mode so i don't have to unlock my phone to set it - too many actions required right now.
    Get right on those Ballmer lol (yeah, that'll happen lol)
  • Swipe up to close the app would be awesome, because that's what I natrually tried to do when I first got my Trophy. As for issue #3, just download the app Toggle and pin Airplane mode to the start screen. A hardware switch for ring/vibrate like on the iPhone is a good idea, but an airplane mode switch would only be good for like 5% of people. 
  • Totally want this!
  • I wouldn't be surprised if we didn't see something like this with Apollo.  This would blend where Nokia was going with Maemo 6 in the N9 and what MS is doing with WP7.
  • This would really be a great idea. I sure would like to have that information at my finger tips!!
  • In addition to this, I think it would be cool if the notifications that come up across the top of the screen could be swiped to the left as well so that they could be read without leaving the main application. So, just like how you would swipe away a notification, you could scroll to the other side kind of and see the full message without exiting. That would be awesome.
  • While good looking, this design flies in the face of LiveTiles. The counters on LiveTiles are the notification center.
  • I agree.
  • Yes, but not every app has a live tile. If you miss a toast notification, it's gone forever. Haven't you ever looked down at your phone after an alert and just missed the toast notification because it disappeared before you had a chance to figure out what it was? A notification "center" of some sort is truly needed. It's a good idea that should have been in WP7 from the beginning.
  • This is not an insurmountable problem.  All they need to do is make sure that if you go to the live tile to check for updates, when it clears something like the e-mail counter, also clear it from the notifications page.  Likewise, when you tap on a notification, it would also clear the counter.  That would allow you to check out the notification both ways, but not feel like you need to clear it out in two places.
    Also, I do not like backgrounds in Windows Phone.  But I never have, even on my previous WinMo phone which supported it.
  • I am TOTALLY against the customization of background and tiles.  It makes WP look as ugly as EVERY SINGLE ANDROID DEVICE I'VE EVER SEEN.  I'm undecided on the addition of a "notifications screen".  I have to yet to  run across a need to go back into a massive list of notifications.  When live tiles are designed well they tell me if I have missed something from them.  If I missed some text messages, there's an obvious marker on the live tile.  If I missed phone calls, there's an obvious marker on the live tile.  If I missed Facebook notifications, there's an obvious marker.  So, I have yet to be convinced of the need to muck up WP with another pivot....but I'm open to a good argument in favor.
  • Great post, I agee overall with what you said.  Notification Center isn't really "critical" if the Live Tile is developed well by the developers (crazy concept).  I always viewed Toast notifications as an "urgent" or "high priority" notifiction if you wish to enable it per app.  Tango is a good example of using a Toast notification when receiving a call. If you miss the call, the Live Tile indicates a missed call.
    However, I'm not opposed to a central notification center because I'm sure there are plenty of people who'd like to use it as a back up to "deficient" live tiles or who just want to be fed constant notification on news headlines or social network updates.  I can understand that, but my point is overall, a notification center is not needd if a Live Tile was not neglected on the developers part.  Unfortunately, reality is you can't depend on developers, so hence a notification center is necessary.
  • Not every app that uses notifications has a live tile. If you miss seeing a notification, it's gone forever.
  • BTW, to those who are completely mystified by so-called "opposition" to "choices", keep in mind that certain things are not available because, as the contention was presented by Microsoft, the mere capability brings with it a performance hit.  Their focus is to keep the performance experience top-notch and consistent.  And I completely agree.  Also, in my opinion, you have choices: switch to an Android or iOS device.  They can get as ugly as you like.
  • Amen.
  • To address your earlier post, it'll only look as ugly as the person customizing it to their liking decides to make it. And I don't claim or even try to act as if I am knowledgeable on the under the hood aspects of mobile phones. I'm not. But I find it hard to believe MS couldn't implement more customization features and it be that much of a hit to the performance of the phone. I mean, one of the arguments for WP is that it could perform many of the same task as Android without the need the for more battery chugging hardware. So why would this be any different? Again, you guys on these sites who follow the more technical aspects of phones would know more about this than I do. My wife has an iPhone 4 and I see no more of a difference when she changes her background image as opposed to having a standard black background. And I apologize if I am overreacting here. But I don't think its necessary to make (seemingly) flippant comments suggesting other OS's or devices. Personally, if I wanted an iPhone or a Android phone, I would have taken back my Focus the minute I got it or never have taken the chance on WP in the first place. I love WP and I hope to see it grow and hope to continue to be a part of it. Part of that growth is giving my feedback on how I think it could make changes and additions that would be beneficial to me as a customer and IMO, to the brand itself.
  • "while swiping on the left will land you at the notification history list."
    This is more or less what I want, a straight up list of toast notifications with a 'clear all' option.  Even if it was designed to only hold the last 20 or 30 toasts, I'd be fine with that.  It's all I need, and I'm guessing most people too.  Basically a toaster oven.  :)
    I honestly don't care about background images or gradient tiles, as I'd never use them, but don't begrudge anyone else wanting it either.
  • I agree. I don`t care for background images and stuff (in fact, I`m GLAD it`s impossible to put anything behind those tiles because if it were possible I know I`d be changing that damned picture every day, hehe) but we DO need notification history. How many times did I simply miss toasts just because I wasn`t quick enough! I`m in the other room and I hear the phone notifying me and I have to race it :D Yes to notification history, indifferent towards background images and transparency on tiles... :)
  • I'd say have a separate"notifications tile" that is 2 tiles wide (like the pictures tile)
  • Was ready to hate the windows 8 style (the consumer preview does not give out the wonderful feeling of design, speed and just darn rightness that you get from WP7.5), but that looks good. In fact it looks great...
  • Making use of the left side, good idea.
  • I like this concept. I think the info should be in the "Me" tile. Then the live tile concept is still valid.
  • So you'd rather have to tap the Me tile, then an additional swipe to get to notifications rather than simply swipe left just to preserve the live tile concept? I'm not understanding how a notification "center" threatens to invalid the live tile concept.
  • I really like this for toast notifications, and its simple and clean.
  • I think they should put more tiles to the left......and add s status bar till the top
  • I agree!  More tiles for large screen phones
  • I don't think this is needed.  What is needed is the option to add another column of tiles to address larger screens.  The first time I looked at a titan I thought "those are some big tiles".  If we ever get a Samsung Note like phone you definately could go with 3 columns of tiles and still read the updates.  Just make it an option, let me pick 2 columns or 3.
  • Very nice but I say they should add a WiFi, Bluetooth, Brightness, and airplane toggles in there too. Wish there was a way of getting to that screen without leaving the current app just like ios and android do.
  • That would screw up the UI. Only 1 pane should have live tiles. If it ends up being like Android then there's no point to having WP.
  • Hmm…I imagine you could have connectivity buttons/direct jump to settings in an appbar on the task switcher - not decidedly intuitive for the lay user, but that's what popped in my head when reading your comment.
    Hold Back > tap the Airplane *greys out* > tap whatever app you just left…
    Or have a centered "three-dot" appbar there displaying a shortlist of oft user-toggled settings when called. Just seems like the best place to stick something like that, if it was to be done at all, within the current paradigm.
  • so what happens when you want to see your notifications when NOT in the homescreen? 
  • Want it!!!!!
  • Add me to the list of people who would like to have the notification history list. I, too, often miss toast notifications because my phone is in another room, and without knowing which tile generated the notification, how am I supposed to know which tile to check? Having a history is a good thing.
    I would also add, in addition to the swipe, an (!) icon below the right arrow on the right margin if there are missed notifications in the history. This adds discoverability to the interface, which is a good thing.
  • I love that concept. I literally was thinking almost the exact sane thing 2 days ago.
  • This is absolutely brilliant
  • Wow. I like UI of that actually. That definitely looks like Windows 8 on the phone!!
  • A notification center isn't needed folks.  That is what Live Tiles are for, especially with the added functionality Mango brought to the table (double-sided tiles, multiple pinned tiles.)  Yes, you need the app pinned to your start screen, but I just don't see this happening.
  • I hate the way it us right now I get a notification beep and unless I check it right away and its on top, I have no idea what was there if It goes away before i check it.
  • Both the arrow key and windows key have purposes when they are held longer rather than pressed. The search button doesn't. I think when the search button is held, a notifications tray should be made available. (and when the search button is pressed, we should be able to search the phone or the internet, like we supposedly saw a while back with Tango.
  • I have no problem with the notifications list but the extra chrome such and backgrounds and semi transparent tiles breaks the rules of the Metro design language. This structure only works when it is consistent and so should never be messed with. I know it is restrictive but the whole premise is that nothing should distract from the content. Once you start breaking rules the whole concept is wasted.
  •   I think a notification center is great idea and the concept looks just the way I would want it. Like others, I can do without the wallpaper. To those saying that's what live tiles are for and the tray isn't needed. That may work for you and a few others, but the reality of it is, not all tiles are reliable, not everybody wants to "fill up" their home screen with all of their apps, and who wants to scroll through a whole home screen of mix-matched tiles just to "find" which one has the new notification? I sure as hell don't.
  • It should just be incorporated into the me tile so as to not ruin the effects of live tiles for the most part I get all of my toasts but at the same time I do miss some and the me tile should have a notification pane in aside from what's new and pictures or w.e
  • While generally happy with live tiles there definitely have been times a notification history would have been good. Would make me more confident to swipe or ignore notifications if busy knowing I can backtrack from 1 place later.
    Whether as new screen to left of Start or as History pivot under Me (like History in all your contacts pivots) one extra feature I would want is 'filter by type' like filter by feed of main People - What's New feed.
    So you could quickly toggle to just missed calls / texts / app updates or default of All depending on what you're looking for.
  • ..
  • i think this is what realisticly MS can do and should do because i dont want another screen to flick through. this is my idea of History hub slightly different from the design above and makes sense as everything is in hubs and tiles.
  • your "History Tile" is like combining all the other Live Tiles into one, I'm not sure I like that.
  • How about Long press of the search key to bring up a similar history/notification page.By this method,one can access the notifications even if he/she is inside some app/game.We need not come to the start screen and swipe left to get to the history page
  • This sounds like a great idea to me!
  • That looks quite amazing!
  • The only problem with this is the fact that your notifications aren't available while you are in an app. If only there was a way to see the entire notification history without ever having to leave an app, that would be great.
  • Thank you for the comments, I literally knocked this up in an hour (that's why some of the icons or text aren't quite in proportion),  the motivation was to pick up on the lost toasts, not everyone pins everything on the home screen. Must admit I indulged myself with the home screen, apart from the reflections and little too much grading (and agree), I believe it can be a little more playful and still be metro, one has to look apps such as IMDB or the music/photo hubs.  Moving onto Win8, you do see graduation and different colours within tiles as well as a background, I suspect some of that will come across in Apollo. Of course, there's no accounting for taste and some will inevitably produce inappropriate combinations but that's just choice.   
  • I think the live tiles are a good enough notification, but I can see why some people want a "notification center." As for background colors/transparent tiles/etc. I think all of that stuff is frivilos. When you slide open a Windows Phone, it's just raw color + black or white. It looks clean, it looks tidy, and it looks fresh. When you start adding in background images and stuff, it starts to look like white trash Android nonsense. Why would you even want a specific background when the tiles cover up 90% of the screen anyway? Just my 2 cents. 
  • while I like what the designer did with the notifications page
    -I totally agree that WP needs a notifications history page (or app) to keep track of what's happening - I posted that in the WP Dev app a while ago. Live Tiles are different because they only show current notifications (it's not a history).
    I think he did 3 things wrong with the homescreen:
    - the gradient color on the tiles is cheesy, MS got it right the first time
    - the trasparency is not necessary
    - the reflection on the IE icon is
          1) inconsistent with the rest of the OS
          2) so 2001
    What I like about WP is that it's 100% original. MS didn't try to copy anything, and they don't need to now.
  • Looks great but MS will never go for this. They and die hard fans will come back and say something lame like.. " It takes away the beauty of the UI.