UX about notifications

I want to use this topic to collect some insights into UX best practices around notifications. Not all are on top of my head, so I will add replies when I remember the sources.

@aschrijver mentioned the other day, that

Matrix is a context-switching training apparatus.

That got me thinking. I know, that notifications can be bad, i.e. cause stress:

I originally answered, that by design (even though perhaps not intended), a lack of customisation for colour, typography or layout makes it harder to recall, where something was mentioned. You perhaps remember from school day, that a certain fact was written on the right page of a book in the lower third part. But on apps everything looks the same. A good UX would allow some level of customisation. For example, Threema allows to define a background image to chat rooms.

@Gusted pointed to keyboard shortcuts on Discord, that allows to traverse easily between mentions. That allows for a quick catchup (with context) but requires recalling a hidden feature: the keyboard shortcut itself.

Something I feel bothered about with GitHub notifications, but could be generalised is this:

In GitHub I receive notifications for repositories I follow. I can adjust it to a certain degree, but it’s not fulfilling the needs I have.

Let’s say, I’m interested in PRs. But only those of a selected number of people (just look at mdn/content to see a vibrant repository). Imagine, that the code was broken up into smaller ownerships (CODEOWNERS) help only so far. Or I can’t stand certain people / have a few favourites, whatever. I can’t filter my notifications further. I could perhaps define e-mail filters and operate that way.

Or perhaps I don’t want to receive PR notifications of someone, because that person has the tendency to flood my inbox with many small ones / comments a lot.

There could be many reasons to offer a notification filter based on people instead of organisations.