It’s Customization Month on Android.Appstorm! Throughout March, we plan to share with you all our tips, tricks, apps and resources to help you improve your phone or tablet experience and make them suit your style.
Keeping yourself updated and notified is an essential part of maintaining a balanced workflow when working with your smartphone. The majority of smartphone users who like exploring unique applications undoubtedly rely on their smartphone for productivity. Missed It! will make this easier as it gives you control over notifications so you can tailor them to your specific preference. This aspect is crucial because customization is perhaps one of the most important features of Android and a main reason why some people choose this operating system over competitors.
Once you have bought and downloaded Missed It!, you can begin setting up the notifications with specific applications. The application itself will actually display as a widget. This is rather convenient because the home screen of any device is always the best place to gather information. It also has its advantages because there are great methods out there that allow you to put widgets on your lock screen. As a matter of fact, all devices running Android 4.2 have this ability already built-in. Putting this particular widget on your lock screen will be even more functional as it will likely contain all of the information you need when you are looking at your phone.
The first thing you’re going to want to do once Missed It! is installed is set up the “monitored elements” part of the widget. In this section, you should put anything on your phone that you want to be notified of. This can range from a missed call or a new text message all the way to social actions on Google+ and Facebook. You can also be notified of new voice mails, new emails, calendar events and much more. Anything you can think of that usually appears in your notification bar can be placed in this section. This app natively supports Gmail and K-9 Mail accounts and allows you to choose which label or folder you want to monitor.
Once you have decided which actions you want in the widget, you can then edit them further while in the list. Tapping on an element will allow you to edit the specific details, which we will discuss later. Additionally, long pressing on the element will give you an edit option — same as tapping the element — and a delete option. You can always return to this section of the application to modify your existing elements or add new ones.
In addition to the Monitored Elements section, there is also a Shared Elements section. When you put elements in this section, then the notifications will be shared by all third party applications that support it. For example, if you set up a email notification, then it will pull emails from all of your email applications, regardless of which account you are using.
Once you have all of your desired elements, you can then begin the actual process of monitoring your selected applications. In order for the notifications to be successful, you must have Missed It! enabled in the accessibility menu. On most Android devices, you can get to the accessibility menu by going to Settings, and scrolling down to the bottom under the System category. There should be a separate option titled Missed It! Simply enable this and you’re good to go. If you cannot find the accessibility menu in your phone, go to the help tab in the application and select Check Accessibility settings. This option will provide a shortcut to the setting you must adjust.
It is important to stress that this type of monitoring system will only work with the applications that are capable of presenting notifications in the notification bar. This app will not magically give notification ability to applications that don’t natively support them. The reason behind this restriction is because Missed It! considers any event sent to your notification bar as an acceptable event to show on the widget. So if no events are sent to your notification bar from a particular application, then this application is not supported.
Customizing the Notification Output
As you get more and more used to how Missed It! displays information, you can choose to customize the look of the actual notifications. Simply tap on any element in the Monitored Elements section and you will be given a variety of different options. These options will allow you to change the label of the element so you can easily determine which settings apply to which notifications. You can also choose how the notification appears when it is a singular action and when its a plural action. For example, on your email notification, “Email” can be your singular look, while “Emails” can be your plural look.
As you continue to monitor your applications, you may have the desire to change how the widget handles multiple events. You can alter this by using the same editing menu that’s described above; simply tap on Multiple events behaviour. This aspect can perhaps be the most confusing, especially if you blindly select options, so I will use Gmail as a concrete example.
- By default, the option “Count all events” will be checked. This option will display all new events regardless of what notification just came in. For example, let’s say you have 10 new messages in Gmail that you don’t want to read. If you get a single new email, the widget will tell you that you have 11 new messages instead of 1 new message.
- Another option is the “count as single event” option. Let’s say you have 10 new emails and you have your Gmail counter set to 0 emails. When you get a new email, the widget will tell you that you only have 1 new email instead of 11 new emails.
- The last option is the “use as new counter value” option. Let’s say you currently have 10 unread emails and you receive a new one. The widget will tell you that you have 11 unread emails. If you read the new one, the counter will be reset to 0 emails, but once you get another one, it will bounce back up to 11 emails.
Customizing the appearance of your widget is perhaps the most important aspect of how the widget will be displayed. Luckily the process of doing so is extremely straight forward. To get to the editing section, simply tap on the widget you want to edit, then tap on appearance. This will give you a window with a wide variety of aspects that you can change. Alternatively, you can also tweak the appearance of a widget by tapping on the layout option directly under the appearance menu.
Once in the appearance menu, you will have access nearly every visual aspect on the widget. In the styles section of the settings, you can distinguish different appearances for numeric values and normal text values. This will add diversity between your notification count and the actual notification label. Specifically, you can change the font style, color, and size of each category. You can then directly edit the background color, how the corners of the widget look, and the shadow it will give off.
You are also given a variety of presets that can be used. Presets are basically themes and layouts that have already been designed specifically for Missed It!. Within a preset, you can change the layout and the appearance of the preset so they act as templates for later use. It is up to you to create all of your presets and design them in a way that makes sense to you, then saved on your SD card for quick access in the future.
If you have followed the steps presented, then you are well on your way to being able to set up notifications for any application that supports them. It is important to stress that Missed It! won’t actually give your phone any additional functionality. It is only aiming to provide a more practical way of viewing the notifications that typically clutter up your notification bar.
Perhaps the biggest advantage of using this app is that you can have it display your most frequent notifications, leaving your notification bar to handle the ones that are a little more unique or vice versa. Anyone who uses their smartphone for the majority of their productivity and communication can benefit enormously from having this as their effective notification system.