The Implications of Mobile Notifications for User Experience of a Social Network Service

Sami Vihavainen, Kaisa Vä�¤nänen-Vainio-Mattila


Smartphones enable an always-on connection to Social Network Services (SNS). A typical way of interacting with SNSs is to access them when the user has a suitable situation to check the status of her social networks or to write an update. One way to enhance the usage of SNSs is to have the service automatically push notifications about events to the smartphone user interface. However, there is no research on how users experience such SNS notifications. We present an explorative field study with 11 participants to assess how users experience mobile notifications compared to reading SNS content manually, initiated by the user. The participants first used Facebook for a month without notifications and then for a month with an application called Socially that sends frequent notifications about Facebook events to the userâ??s smartphone desktop. The participants who kept the notification feature on reported increased reading of Facebook. However, after a while, many were unwilling to receive the notifications, mainly because of lack of control. We report the qualitative findings on user experience, which reveal for example, that the use of mobile notifications decreases interest in Facebook. Notifications limit user control, and using Facebook feels more meaningful when accessed manually. Implications for design are discussed.


Mobile notification; Social Network Service (SNS); Field study; User experience

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International Journal of Interactive Mobile Technologies (iJIM) – eISSN: 1865-7923
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