Watching the video at Google's Little Signals site, I was struck by the thought that all these oh-so polite, unobtrusive attempts to replace notifications look fine in a demonstration video but they really don't scale well.

Take the use of a device - shown 1 minute, 15 seconds in - that taps on a solitary bottle of pills to hint that it's time for you to take your morning (or evening, or whatever) medication…

Looks cute, doesn't it.

Outside of demo-world, at present I take six different pills after breakfast, then one of the same pills again after tea, then one other pill after supper. A gentle tap threatens to turn into a drum solo accompanying my morning repast.1 In practice, the fact that I currently keep my pill dispenser out of sight in a cabinet in my kitchen might also be a bit of a problem.

Don't we want alerts to take your medication to be difficult to ignore?

What I really want is…

  • A medication timer app for iPadOS (or simply daily recurring entries on any halfway-decent ToDo app) that sends me notifications that I can't easily ignore, not a polite tapping sound from the kitchen cabinet that I might miss completely.
  • Or a high-tech version of my cheap plastic pill organiser that can light up the appropriate compartment containing the pills I need to take at the appropriate time.2
  • Or just the self-discipline to keep on top of and check off the uncleared medication-related tasks from my Markdown-formatted Daily Note.3

[Via Dan Hon

  1. Also, all my pills come in cardboard boxes and once a week I file them away in the right compartment in a weekly pill organiser according to when I'm due to take them. A dull tap on a plastic pillbox just won't deliver the same distinct audible signal as a tap on a glass pill bottle, I fear. 
  2. With a companion app to program the times, set default colour schemes and sound effects, naturally. 
  3. Yes, I've turned into an Obsidian zombie.