Improving notifications (e-mail and push)

Here’s my observations and suggestions based on some testing that I did (and I’ll try to collect more opinions from users on the near future)

Push notifications on the app

  • I’ve gotten notifications even from replies of messages on the wall that I did not participate in. (Although I haven’t noticed this behaviour the last days, maybe it has been fixed already?)
  • The notifications lead me to the login page, even though I’m still logged in

E-mail notifications


  • Skip sending notifications when user is active. I’ve seen this feature here on Discourse
  • Skip e-mail notifications when push notifications have been sent out already.
  • Alternatively, send out a daily summary if the user hasn’t been active. This could actually be a standard for future e-mail notifications, instead of sending new notifications for each message. This would make people less susceptible to turning them off (could anyone check the stats for the number of users who unsubscribed? It’s interesting to know how they react)

Generally I think that e-mail and push notifications could be improved so they complement each other without overwhelming the user who opts in to them.

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Both of them should have been fixed already, but I’m going to keep an eye on the “redirect-to-login” page behavior.

We have a 5-minute delay before sending out email notifications. If the user reads the message during this time, the email doesn’t get sent.
Push notifications get sent out immediately, so you shouldn’t get an email when clicking on the push notification and marking the message as read.

Daily summary emails are a good idea. I guess this is mostly about group wall messages and not pickup chats, private chats? Maybe it should include wall replies too.

They should be offered in addition to email notifications for individual message notifications because some people want to follow the discussion more closely and also use the reply-via-email feature.

I had a quick look at the data, 4.6% of all chat participants have email notifications muted. If we look at group walls only, it’s higher, with 12% of active group members muting their emails. Interestingly, it’s even higher at 26% when looking at inactive group members too. Maybe they turned off their notifications because they’re busy with other stuff that is not foodsaving.

By the way, it doesn’t mean that all remaining users get email notifications. We don’t send out emails if

  • the user is not active in the group
  • previous emails bounced too often
  • the email address has not been verified (less important nowadays as new users can only apply to groups with their email address successfully verified)

I tried myself at improving the notification settings last summer but it got too complex and I didn’t continue. Right now email notifications and push notifications are coupled together (e.g. you only receive push if emails are not muted). It’s not ideal, but it saved me from adding another settings button. The other simple alternative would be to always send push notifications, regardless of the mute setting.

I was thinking this could be option only in case we chose not to send e-mail notifications for every message on the wall by default. Not meant to have daily summaries of messages on top of that.

I guess more feedback from users about the notifications would be interesting. I was really surprised that so few have muted the e-mail notifications.

I think it’s fine that they are coupled together. My initial idea was that e-mail notifications would not be sent if you tap on the push notification and go into the app, but I didn’t know the “mark as read” button had the same effect.

According to our stats, an active user gets 1.01 emails per day on average. There are surely some users that get lots more, but we don’t have stats about the distribution.

I would try to make it easier to mark messages as read, maybe directly offer a button in the push notification like Telegram does.
And mark wall messages automatically as read when reading the page, like we do with other messages already.

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I like this feature, I’ve seen this on many instant messaging programs. There is a tiny chance that this would induce people to think that something like “mark as read” in this case would mean that other people could see that s/he actually read the message. But that’s practically a non-issue, a minor detail.

I find this sooo much more practical. Even better if it detects scrolling down to the wall messages

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