1Password Message Center

Today’s iOS update of 1Password includes a Message Center.

Message Center is essentially a mechanism to notify the user of important app updates or tips on how to get the most from the app. A counter over the Settings icon shows how many new (unread) messages are sitting in the Message Center, allowing you to read them at your own leisure.

I would love to see other apps adopt a feature similar to Message Center. Too frequently, I run new app features that I didn’t know existed. Or worse: I open an app that went through a revision overnight, only to stumble into an entirely new and unfamiliar user interface.

Other apps roll out revisions with a welcome or “how to” screen to explain new features. This is a more user friendly way of saying “the app is different from the last time you used it”, but it can be especially annoying to run into this kind of screen when you are in the middle of something. If I’m opening an app and am in a hurry (i.e. to pull-up an electronic airline ticket), the last thing I want to do is run through a forced tour of the app’s new features.

I think 1Password’s Message Center sets a new bar on how app designers will roll out new features to their customers.