The actionable notification API was originally announced at the 2014 Apple world wide developer conference (WWDC) and officially became available with the arrival of iOS8 last September.
Actionable notifications essentially allow a user to take an action directly from a notification. By simply interacting with the notification, the user is then prompted with unique app based actions that can be performed without the need to open an app.
Repost of actionable notification animated example from Nick Jensen
Walgreens is leveraging actionable notifications to provide utility for existing app consumers by allowing them to directly refill an Rx directly from the notification. This is a great example of a brand maximizing the impact and flexibility of the operating system to create a seamless experience that does not require the user to open the application
Actionable notifications will also be available as a part of the upcoming release of the Apple Watch. After going through one of the "personal fittings" I was impressed by the potential of how notifications can extend through various notification use cases.
After trying on the 42mm pictured above, I was impressed by the size and responsiveness of the interface.
Apple WatchKit will offer two types of notifications short-look & custom long-look notifications. Short look gives attribution to the app, title and app name and is visible only briefly.
Example of Short Term Apple Watch Notification
With custom long-look we can incorporate up to 4 custom action buttons and custom graphics. Long-look is activated when a user either taps on a short look notification or if their wrist is raised.
Example of Long Term Apple Watch Notification
One of the key points to consider is that just because the API exists does not mean that it is ideal for all scenarios. It is important to test the notification threshold of your user base and focus on extending value to existing behaviors vs. simply pushing messaging.
If there is a viable use case to create custom notifications that are simple extensions of your branded application then this API could be a great way to drive a certain behavior without the friction of forcing a user to open the full application.
Follow Tom Edwards @BlackFin360