Saturday, 23 April 2011

Quick tip: do not hide the notification bar

I know it is tempting to think that your app is the sole focus of your users. In reality, however, it is very rarely the case. Mobile phone users are interrupted all the time. Incoming calls, text messages, instant messages, Facebook notifications etc. ar very common.
If the Android notification bar is hidden users cannot see the notifications. In many phones by default the notification sound is the same for many of them. This means that the users don't know if they want to ignore (maybe a work email on holiday) or respond (a friend sending IM) the incoming notification if they can't actually see the message.

Notification bar also holds a lot of useful info like network coverage, time and battery status which can be very relevant to the user at any given time.

Simple guideline:
Do not hide the notification bar unless there's a very, very good reason to do so!
Comics app hides the notification bar making the app much less useful as time killer. 

Games tend to hide the notification bar. I think that in many cases it isn't necessary to do so. There's no reason why the notification bar could could not be visible in Angry Birds.