The Unwritten Rules of Notification Badges

The Unwritten Rules of Notification Badges

Jake Hayes

Tech Life

I do not like notification badges. However, I do allow them in certain situations as a useful indicator for me to know if there is some needed interaction within an app. I am constantly clearing them to make sure no apps on my phone have a badge.

I do not allow every app that requests the ability to turn on notifications to do so. For those that I do allow to send me notifications, there are certain rules I have in place that will get me to go into the settings app and turn them off entirely.

1. It needs to be important in the context of your app

Badges should be reserved for important or time-sensitive notifications. If I received a direct message from another user of your app, or an email, or if I was tagged in something, I do not need a badge for something I’ve never shown interest in being back in stock or that your company has released a new product that I do not care about.

2. There has to be an easy way to clear out the badge

Read the message, look at the in-app notifications area, or have in-app indicators for what is causing the external indicator that caused me to open your app. If I have to play a frustrating game of hide-and-seek just to find what the badge is pointing to, then I will stop playing that game and just turn off notifications for your app.

3. The marketing team should not be allowed to send a notification that results in a badge

Drilling down into point number one because it is so important. A notification is enough. Even too many of those from marketing will get me to turn them completely off. But if I see that little red circle on your app icon and I search through your app looking for why I have this indicator, it turns out to be a marketing notice—straight to jail. You are done, no more badges from you. Depending on how important I feel your app is, all notifications might be gone from there.

These are unwritten rules that boil down to ‘don’t be obnoxious.’ Marketing is obnoxious. Badges can be incredibly useful in the right context. As you can imagine, this post was not written without this ever happening to me. This is all too common of an occurrence.

Thank you for reading my rant.

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