Notification improvements

Idea created by Todd Thomas on Jul 1, 2016
    Under Consideration

    (Originally posted on 3, June 2016)

    Notifications today could be improved, specially in the Service Desk components (incidents, solutions, problems, changes, etc.). As I've thought through the issues with how notifications work, I think it boils down to a lack of customization that results in excessive notifications that make the system overwhelming and inflexible. To that end, I propose the following, multifaceted solution to helping this become better.


    1. Clean up the behavior of CC field. Right now, CCing people on incidents follows the same logic as the Assignee. In general this works OK (the simplicity is nice), but there are times when you don't need/want to notify the person CCed, and even times when you might only want to correspond to the person CCed. Solutions: Either break off notifications for CCed people separately or allow more flexibility on who gets notified when updating an incident. Something like another button or checkbox to also notify anyone CCed. - DONE (partially)


    2. The alarm bell in the web app (and also iOS/Android Apps) could be improved. In the web app, just clicking on the bell clears the notifications. This is a dangerous thing, as you might clear things you accidentally. Solution: Require you to click the Mark as Read option instead.


    3. Reduce the chattiness when editing incidents. Let's say I want to put in a comment AND change the assignee of an incident. Currently you can't do both at once since comments don't show up when editing an incident. Solution: Allow you to edit the assignee from the same screen as comments. An alternative solution that may also be useful- wait to send emails until a minute later, then queue up all the changes at once. Basecamp does a great job of this as it results in fewer, more meaningful emails.


    4. Distinguish between group assignments and assignments to individuals. If I belong to a group, emails to that group act as though they're assigned directly to me instead of to the group. I'll get the message "an incident has been assigned to you" when the reality is that it's assigned to the group. Solution: Change the text of the email to "an incident has been assigned to your group".


    5. Allow us to customize the email messages. It sounds like this feature is in the works, but being able to further customize the messages that are sent out could be very useful. Solution: Implement new email template changes. -DONE


    6. Allow users to individually customize notifications. Right now, notifications settings are global only. It's very common for applications to allow users to choose which notifications they want to receive and how they want to receive them. Solution: change the profile for users to allow customization of notifications (emails, in-app, frequency, etc.). Some people might only use the web app and want notifications in there. Again, see Basecamp for how this is done well.


    I hope these issues and potential solutions are useful. I'm sure there are more things I could suggest for improvements, but these seemed like the ones I have most top of mind right now. If anyone has additional suggestions, I'd be interested in hearing them.

    What problem will this feature solve?:
    By having notifications improved, everyone will interact with the system to a greater degree, which in turn makes the product have greater value. Improved notifications will help ensure SLAs are met because both parties on incidents will be able to more easily see the things they care about and be brought into conversations that are pertinent to them. Users won't be frustrated by unnecessary messages clogging up their inboxes.