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Without batching, Medium’s notifications are seriously overwhelming

*ping* Ev Williams

This morning I logged into Medium to read some stuff and was greeted by a bright green indicator in the top right, shouting “80.”

Now I love the dopamine rush as much as the next person, but after clicking on that I was completely overwhelmed. Each individual line-item was basically saying the same thing. Either I was followed by someone, my most recent post was recommended, or it had some highlights.

Of course this is a good problem to have as I’m very happy that my most recent post was enjoyable by some. As I know this isn’t the case with every post, I do understand the value of showing each individual interaction…up to a point.

Maybe we could call that “point” 5, or roughly the number of times you’d see it while on a mobile browser before seeing the same thing over and over again and scrolling through them became really annoying. A brilliant scientific method, I know.

At the magical point of “5” the notification should be batched:

  • John and 6 others recommended Your very recommended story
  • Emily and 12 others started following you
  • Jane highlighted some phrase that no one else highlighted which is why it’s valuable to see it as one line item
  • Ben recommended A story that you wrote a long time ago

There’s a lot of valuable data here — sometimes actionable. And it’s certainly just nice to see. But when I’m overwhelmed with notifications saying all basically the same thing, they become essentially useless.

By Matt Galligan

Hi, I'm Matt. I’m a dad, a Midwesterner living on the East Coast, designer, craft beer & coffee lover, remote work evangelist, and GIF enthusiast.