How often do you notice offers or email alerts flashing on your screen?
Those alerts are nothing but notifications!
Notifications are an integral part of the digital world.
Be it mobile apps or websites, companies drop notifications everywhere. They serve as powerful tools to grab users’ eyeballs and educate them on new product updates and features.
Reports state that sending push notifications can boost app retention rates by 3 to 10 times.
Although they provide seamless engagement, poorly designed notifications seem annoying to the users.
As a UX designer, you should strive to create a UX-friendly notification design.
What factors make a notification design engaging?
In this blog post, we have shared information about aspects that can make notifications engaging and heighten user experiences. Before jumping into the designing part, let’s first explore common types of notifications.
Types of Notifications:
The following list depicts the most common types of notifications.
These notifications are auto-produced by digital apps or platforms. They are usually triggered to remind the users about the services nearing their expiry date or update their app.
Here’s a screenshot showcasing a system-generated notification by Google news. Users can read the information by tapping on it.
User-generated notifications are the most common and engaging types of notifications. They alert or notify a specific individual. Personal messages on phone or social media, everything falls under this category.
These notifications appear after taking the permission of the users. For instance, users can set a meeting on a particular date and time. Context-generated notifications will pop up at the predefined time and date to remind the users about an event.
The following screenshot shows the context-generated notification. Observe how it displays an event set by users. It also asks for further permission to continue receiving the alerts.
Companies use push notifications to inform users about their services. They may encourage users to subscribe to the alerts or buy the products. All types of notifications, in a way, are push notifications.
So, what’s the differentiator?
Some push notifications ask for immediate action while others don’t. The latter category is passive and doesn’t ask for any action right away.
Here’s a screenshot displaying push notifications that ask for immediate action.
Here’s another screenshot of the Duolingo app that shows a regular push notification. It doesn’t ask the users to decide on the spot.
Notification Design Tactics for the Great User Experience
Now that we have discussed the types of notifications, and their use, let’s look at the best practices to create a stellar notification design.
1. Pick the Right Colors for the Notification Icon
Notification design involves several thoughtful steps to increase the user engagement metrics.
The most crucial step in notification creation is color choice for notification text and icon.
Modern research shows that colors have a psychological impact on consumers.
For instance, a bright yellow or orange tone of the color can incite excitement and attention.
Here’s a screenshot of the Amazon shopping app. Notice how they have used the orangish tone for the cart notification icon.
Amazon has used this color on purpose to trigger buying action from users.
As a UX designer, you should pay attention to details while choosing the color palette.
More than enhancing aesthetics, the right colors go a long way and can boost your success rate.
Here are some tips that’ll help you choose the best color for the text and icon of your notification.
- Keep the icon design clean and neat. Draw some inspiration from the leading businesses of your niche.
- Choose red tones for warning notifications, blue tones to invoke trustworthiness among users, and green tones for successful transactions. Notice the following image that depicts the best possible colors for various purposes.
- Use easy-to-read fonts, such as Harriet, Carter Sans, or Times New Roman. It will improve the readability aspect for the users.
2. Share Specific Information
Notifications help share information with your users.
The notification content can influence their buying decisions.
But there’s a thin line between sharing information and annoying the users.
Flooding the screen with lengthy and non-relevant information disappoints users, leading to poor UX. As a result, they may uninstall your app or unsubscribe to the services.
Carefully craft and observe the content before sharing. Stop beating around the bush. Always share necessary and relevant information about your offerings. Else, you might lose your existing customers.
Here are some handy tips to help you craft the relevant content for your notifications.
- Keep the texts short and precise.
- Share information that adds value to the users.
- Send alerts about discounts or new launches.
- Share compelling content that encourages users to buy your services. Observe the following screenshot of the leading online food delivery app Zomato. The series of notifications are gripping and powerful enough to leave a good impression on users.
- Segment your customers as per their interests, age, gender, location, and send customized text for targeted promotions.
3. Provide Control to the Users
Provide your users with the choice of switching off the notifications.
Why is it important?
The answer is simple. Your users have the right to decide what to allow and disallow in their personal space. To retain your users, offer them the best UX experience. Forcefully sending notifications will lead you nowhere.
Research shows that 28 percent of customers that are frustrated with the notifications uninstall the apps.
Let your users control what they want to accept or discard, exactly as YouTube has done. The famous video and music sharing app’s team know how to retain its customers and hence has offered the control settings.
4. Manage Multiple Notifications
Smartphone screens are full of apps and their notifications.
Multiple notifications, especially from the same app, may confuse and irritate the users.
Notice the following screenshot to understand how annoying they can be.
That’s why you need to embed such notifications whose source is the same.
The following screenshot of Gmail is an excellent example of how to combine them. Observe how the app has summarized three notifications by displaying ‘3 new messages.’
Upon tapping the icon, it will show the notifications to users.
5. Conduct User Testing
Even after putting in the effort, your design may fail to impress the target audience.
How would you judge the credibility of your notification design?
There’s no foolproof way to figure it out. But with user testing, you get an idea of what will work and what won’t.
User testing is a method in which you offer your app or product to a set of users to test its functionalities. The users share their feedback to help you improve the product before launching it in the market.
Here are some tips to help you perform and reap benefits from user testing.
- Define your goals and target audience.
- Create a solid user testing plan.
- Recruit people that can fit well in the category of your target audience.
- Ask a senior UX designer from the team to moderate the testing.
- Conduct the process at your office or in a remote setting.
- Document the test results and feedback of the users.
- Work on improving the notification design as per the users’ feedback.
Conduct the process again to track your progress.
User testing allows you to align the design with the target audience.
To Sum Up
UX design speaks volumes about your brand.
When created thoughtfully, UX can positively impact your brand perception among users.
In the words of the famous designer Milton Glaser –
‘There are three responses to a piece of design – yes, no, and WOW! Wow is the one to aim for.’
So, go ahead and use these tips to create a stellar notification design.
Aanya Rachel is the Content Manager at The Address, a coworking space in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. She is passionate about sharing her knowledge, experience, and extensive research in this field. She writes on a wide range of topics related to coworking, the growth of remote workers, startups, and real estate.