Victoria Whang | Product Designer
Victoria Whang | Product Designer


Thoughts that didn’t make the cut on my Medium page

The notification drug

After a three month probational period, I got my very first work phone. Whatever phone I chose would come with a 2Gb data plan and unlimited call/text. So I started making a pro/con list in my head of all of the available phone options in Rogers' roster.


Current device:
iPhone 6S gold (age...old enough to be on a monthly plan with no contract)

Potential device:

  • iPhone 8
  • iPhone 8S
  • Google Pixel
  • Google Pixel 2
  • Samsung Galaxy S9
  • Samsung Galaxy Note8

A few factors that were running through my mind:

  • Every device I own is an Apple product so an upgrade on my iPhone would have been only too easy but do I want the "S" version in spite of its behemoth-like size that will not fit in a clutch? (Yes, fashion is indeed a factor.)
  • Google phones have unlimited photo/video storage and I'm getting tired of Apple telling me I'm low and do I want to upgrade to a higher storage tier but am I willing to sacrifice on compatibility?
  • My mom currently owns a Samsung Note and the cameras on those things are out of this world, I daresay better than on iPhones and even the Pixels (which I've seen in action via friends and co-workers). Again, am I willing to compromise on compatibility and storage for an outrageous phone camera?

After a long debate, I decided to keep my personal iPhone 6S (for compatibility), downgrade my existing plan to call/text only (cutting my phone bill by two thirds), and accepting the Google Pixel 2. Sidenote: the decision between the Pixel 1 and 2 was the wait period of about three weeks for the newer model. It had just been released the week before and a few of the co-workers were eager to see it IRL as well. 


That was a lengthy intro to what will inevitably become a super short story but after a few months of owning both an iPhone and a Pixel 2, the slowest and deepest difference I've noticed is the notification system: iPhones have the little red dots with numbers at the top right corner of app icons and Pixels do not. And boy, does it make a difference in my overall well-being.

I am, and have always been, one of those users who will never have a red dot with numbers on their phone screens for too long. There are days when I will push myself to keep it there and try to overlook it but those fasts have never lasted longer than a few hours. If I see it once, I'll think about it every once in a while. It's even bled into my habit of checking my phone proactively, every however many minutes it takes to hover around the borderline between crazy and respectable. Half the time, I don't even read through the messages in the notification tab. I just click on the app for the sole mission of accomplishing the disappearance of the evil red dots.

Alternatively, I rarely check my Pixel. If it buzzes a notification and I happen to hear it, I might take a gander but I only open it when I'm good and ready for a serious phone session/photoshoot (because the Portrait feature in the camera is way better than on my's got an amazing depth of field that my Nikon 7100 would be jealous of; either that or I just need to practice shooting better).

I imagine, if I didn't have my iPhone, I would exhibit stronger focus, better work ethic, enthusiastic social skills, and much better REM cycles but Apple also does that thing where all of my Apple products are synced together. If I was iMsging my friends on my phone and then jumped onto my laptop, I could just continue the conversation in another window while I start working on something else. So, even when my phone's not there, it's there. Of course, all those red dots exist in the laptop realm as well so I could be working on something and in the corner of my eye, I can see my dashboard popping up a little notification on my App Store (probably to tell me there's a new iOS upgrade and i need to restart my computer...that's the only one I avoid for a few days until I feel I have to surrender).  

Apple, you're no good for me but I love you, I do.

UI/UXVictoria Whang