Paul Irish wrote a pretty chill script back in 2009 for detecting when a user becomes inactive. It’s quite ingenious in its simplicity, as the best things usually are. What wasn’t explained fully is the ways in which this can be used to deliver a better user experience. It’s fantastic for preventing timed or asynchronous actions when users aren’t going to benefit from the action.
This quick little experiment is aimed at demonstrating the concept in the simplest form.
A jGrowl notification triggered every ‘x’ seconds, or by a server event, isn’t of much use when the user isn’t around. They disappear after a few seconds. So instead, if the user is deemed inactive, you should make them “stick” or push them to a modal, similar to the loathed Growl notification rollup pictured below.
Obviously the linked example isn’t quite as eloquent, but it’s not like the Growl rollup was that well received to begin with. See what other cool shit you can come up with.