What Are They?
In iOs eight, Apple introduced a feature called Interactive Notifications. This feature allows users to interact with notifications without leaving the app they are currently using. For example, you could respond to a text message without leaving Mail, Safari, or whatever app you're using at the moment you receive the text, or trash an email without ever opening the Mail app.
How Do I Use Them?
The officially documented way of doing this is through a series of gestures: pulling down the notification, swiping to the right or left, and so on. Of course, VoiceOver users are not able to easily do this; therefore, Apple has extended the functionality of the VoiceOver rotor.
A banner is text that briefly appears at the top of the screen and is spoken by VoiceOver. To respond to a banner, such as a text or iMessage, touch it, then perform a three-finger swipe down. If your device supports it, you can also 3D Touch on the banner. If the app that sent the notification supports this feature, a screen will appear that lets you do something, such as send a reply to a text. If the sending app does not support it, I have found that the banner simply remains on the screen; touch it and do a two-finger scrub to dismiss it.
To deal with interactive notifications on the lock screen, touch the notification and flick up or down with one finger to view the available actions. For example, if you flick down once on a Mail notification, you'll hear, "View." Double tapping this action will reveal the options to trash the message, mark it as read, or dismiss the notification. Notifications can also be dismissed by selecting the, "Clear," action from the rotor. If you can't find the notification you're looking for, touch the status bar and swipe down with three fingers to reveal all notifications.
Notes and Conclusion
Here are a few notes on this feature.
- If you are reading documentation meant for sighted people, remember this rule of thumb: if you are told to "pull down," touch the item and do a three-finger swipe down; if you are told to swipe left or right, use the "Actions" item of the VoiceOver rotor, find the action with one-finger swipes up or down, and double tap to initiate the chosen action.
- Not all apps support this feature. However, keep checking back as your apps get updated, to see if they have added said support. Again, if an app does not offer interactive notifications, banners will simply stay on the screen when you try to pull them down, and notifications will offer no actions, or possibly only "clear."
That's all there is to it. If you have questions or think I missed anything, leave a comment!