Automatic app on iOS: Rich Notifications issue on Apple Watch

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  • Updated 1 year ago
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Hi,
With the latest version of the iOS App 3.7.0 comes the new "Rich notifications" feature, with icons in the notification, etc. They look great on my iPhone, but they're a bit of a fail on Apple Watch 2nd edition: When opening the notification, the icon is displayed first and takes up all of the small screen, so I have to scroll down to see the text content:


The notifications look OK in the notification list view though:



I guess some polish is needed for the Apple Watch support...

Thanks
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Fred Garz

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Posted 1 year ago

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Amy

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Hi Fred. Thanks for sharing your feedback. The design team is aware. Unfortunately, notification implementation on the watch is very limited but they're looking into how they can best address this. 
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Fred Garz

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I don't know, but look at what Instagram does with their notifications on the watch. pretty good... May be having an app on the watch helps... 
The main issue is the size of the icon. May be it could be resized a bit smaller... Thank you for your help.
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Aaron

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Fred and Amy, I completely agree with Fred and dislike the giant "P" image that I must scroll past to see the text.

In its place, I'd love to see a map of the drive that was just completed. (See my screenshot mockup) Otherwise, I'd request to lose the image entirely and just list the address. Thoughts?

(Edited)
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Derrick S., Official Rep

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Hi Aaron,

Thank you for the input! As Amy mentioned above, the team is aware of the issue and is looking into how they can best address it.
(Edited)
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Fred Garz

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I like aaron's idea to use the trip's map as image for the stop notification. As I understand it, when you attach an image to a rich notification on iOS, it is always displayed first on the watch, before the text. It works very well for visual notification like a new instagram post, etc, where the information conveyed by the notification is the image itself. So for the rich notifications to work on iOS with Automatic, it would make sense to include the relevant information in the attached image. A logo is nice eye candy on a device where there is real estate to display it (like a phone), but it does not convey much information, especially on the small screen of the watch. Currently, the Automatic notification image for starting a trip is a bare (A) logo, and for ending a trip it is the (P) icon. Not very useful.
And to be fair to Automatic, I have seen hits and misses with iOS rich notifications on other apps: The Guardian app uses them for their breaking news notifications: Adding the picture for a news article makes sense sometimes, but in the latest one I got (the confirmation of Judge Gorsuch on SCOTUS by the Senate), the picture was a generic picture of the Senate's stairs...
In my opinion, there should be an image attachment to a notification only if it conveys useful information with the text notification. A superb use of the rich notifications is with my home town's rugby team (Clermont ASM) application: During their games, you get live notifications, and they cram in a tiny square image everything you need to know when something happens: time on the clock, current score, a tiny icon for what happened : red cross for an injury (this is rugby after all ;-), yellow card, etc. it is just smart, beautiful, and useful...
I am sure Automatic will come up with great ideas to make the notifications even more useful fot their users.
Thanks
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Amy

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Thanks for the feedback, everyone, and the suggestion, Aaron. I checked in with the iOS team and was told the following:

"The rule is that the apple watch renders notification thumbnails in a way that takes up the full screen of the watch. There’s no way to prevent this and make it smaller without making a watch app. We can’t make the image a map because the text would be blurry depending on the screen resolution of the watch."

We know a Watch app would be cool but it's not on the near-term roadmap as there are other priorities the team is focused on now. But here's an "Idea" post you can vote on.  In the meantime, they'd still like to figure out a workable solution. 
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Aaron

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Amy, it's awesome to get feedback right from the iOS team so quickly! It's obvious you guys are smart and will find a good solution.

I'm certainly no developer, but we see other iOS apps push rich notifications to the Apple Watch with detailed images that aren't blurry (and without an accompanying watch app) so it seems like a map image should be possible, somehow. Render for the 42mm watch resolution 312 x 390 and scale for the smaller one? Opt for a less detailed map with few or no text labels? Use an animated map gif that reveals the car's route over a second or two? 

In the meantime, I'd prefer no image at all (until a different image can be displayed) because it provides no added value on the watch, and in fact is an inconvenience to scroll past.

Automatic is awesome and thanks for continuing to develop these tools. We'd love to hear additional feedback on this topic if at all possible. Thanks!

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