Every day, apps vie for your attention. Someone retweets, sends a message, or texts you. An app wants you to know that it hasn’t forgotten about you and sends a push notification. Every time, your phone lights up, your Apple Watch taps you on the wrist, and you lose focus on whatever it was that you were doing before getting distracted.
Right now, notifications are all or nothing: your options are to receive them, or disable them altogether for any given app. Within the notifications you do receive, there is very little sense of hierarchy. What is relevant right now? What can you ignore? How can you tell the difference?
We want to propose an alternative to the current system. By taking inspiration from the principles of soundscapes and information landscapes found in nature, we are exploring a way to make notifications less jarring, more adaptive and, ultimately, less distracting but more meaningful.