Kunkel, Matthias [mkunkel] - 26. Jun 2013, 09:35
Rethinking Notifications in ILIAS
ILIAS offers different kinds of notifications to keep users up-to-date about changes and events in relevant parts of the system and its content. Unfortunately, these notifications are not handled in a streamlined way but distinguishing from each other. The ILIAS core team would like to revise the entire notification system, offer more information about which object is notifying why and standardize the notification handling.
Some suggestions to improve the notification system are mentioned below:
- Streamlining messages: Several events in different modules are triggering notifications. But the format and content of these messages are still quite heterogeneous. And unfortunately not all of them are really self-explaining. Sometimes it is not clear why one gets this mail and what can one do now. A general revision and streamlining of the sent messages according to the system notification guidelines would be a big improvement.
- Extending content of notifications: A notification about a new blog posting is already a helpful information. But it would be even more helpful if a snippet of the posting content is delivered with this notification, too. Some modules - like the forum - do this already, others not yet. Adding more content to a notification increases the value of information of a notification.
- Notifications in more modules: While you already get valuable information about activities in a wiki or a collaborative blog, you do not get any notification about changes in a learning module. But in some situations such notifications would be very important to get, e.g. for pages or chapters that are set online.
- Clear distinction between notifications and news: A new wiki page triggers a notification (send by mail). But a new uploaded file creates an entry in the news block of the upper container (course, group, ...). And the forum serves both notifications system and news system. This is not easy to understand. Users would benefit from a clear definition for which purpose the news system is used and for which notifications.
- Separating notification and channel: At the time being all notifications are mail notifications - except the optional chatroom invitation which is an on-screen notification. We think the user should decide through which channel she or he wants to be notified. Maybe someone prefers to get an on-screen notification about a new posting in a forum instead of looking in the inbox of the mail system. In the future we can even think about notifications by SMS or Twitter.
- Personal administration of notifications: There should be more options for users to decide which notifications should be sent when and how. Instead of treating all notifications from all forums equal it might be more helpful to get an on-screen notificatio n for an important forum immediatelly while it is sufficient to get a conclusion of new postings from other and less important forums the next morning. Such personal settings would also include the option to choose the preferred channel for notifications.
This list is not complete and the discussion is still open. But we want to push this topic and find a reasonable solution for ILIAS 4.5. If you are interested and have additional suggestions or support the ideas mentioned above, please contribute to the discussion.