The emergency alert system in iOS is meant to save lives, either the lives of children with the AMBER Alert system, or lives in general with natural disaster warnings. However, not all alerts are created equally, and unfortunately, not all iOS alerts are as informative or interactive as they need to be. Craig Hockenberry has broken down the problems with the AMBER alert received by many Californian's last night. From Furbo:
My wife’s first question as I looked at my phone was “Are we having a tsunami?” (we’ve had these kind of emergency broadcasts before.) I replied with, “No, It’s an AMBER Alert”. To which she replied, “What’s that?”
And therein lies the first problem: I had no idea.
Unlike all other notifications on my iPhone, I couldn’t interact with the alert. There was no way to slide the icon for more information or tap on it in the Notification Center to get additional information. Through a combination of Google and my Twitter timeline, I eventually figured it out.
It might create a better user experience if the terminology is clearer, the messages simpler, and a way is found to provide additional information for people who need it. Hockenberry breaks down the issues, including why emergency alerts are exempt for Do Not Disturb, that the sound is specified by the government, and what, if anything - including filing a radar - can be done about it. Check out his post.