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Ask DN: Tips on designing notification systems?

6 years ago from , Product Designer at SalesLoft

Curious if any product designers have experience designing notification systems. We're about to design the very first version of ours, and I have a few questions:

  • What did the first version of your system look like?
  • How do you handle email and/or push notification settings?
  • What were some early tweaks that had to be made?

7 comments

  • Account deleted 6 years ago

    Yeah, I've got experience with this but more info is needed to answer (if you can give it):

    1. What are the trigger events for these notifications?
    2. Is this mobile or desktop (both)?
    3. Push is a wildly different animal than most. Is this for both iOS and Android?
    4. Do you need to give people the ability to AUTHOR custom pushes/notifications... or will they be standard and driven by the product?
    2 points
    • Sam Solomon, 6 years ago

      Hey Benjamin, appreciate the response.

      We're building a tool that is a CRM system for customer success managers. Right now notifications will come from due dates on tasks and when another team member assigns you a task.

      In the future these tasks (and notes in the CRM) will have comments—for this I was planning on following closely to how Facebook handles these. When an action is taken on a comment, the user is subscribed to that comment and will receive updates on changes.

      This will almost exclusively be used on desktop. I put the push notification item in there mainly for broader discussion from the community.

      0 points
      • Kevin SuttleKevin Suttle, 6 years ago

        Keep in mind that many browsers support notifications as well. https://cldup.com/VM2qfdW9CS.png

        https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Web/API/Notifications_API/Using_the_Notifications_API

        1 point
      • Account deleted 6 years ago

        Sorry for the delay... was away pretty much all weekend.

        1. We started out with and are currently using toast banners that appear in a particular spot below the main nav of the site. For us, when a user logs in they land on a main dashboard, so there is also a notification rollup here as well... so we can save the toasts of critical things only. I'm not sure it's the best solution, but it works for now.

        2. All our email settings are in an admin control/settings panel. They can select what type of email notifications they receive. We are currently working on adding a scheduled "rollup" option so they will only be pinged once a day if they so choose. Notifications are generally dictated by the user level (we have a few user rights/roles) and are part of that.

        3. We should have had rollup options earlier. The toast is also not the best thing... primarily because it was an afterthought to be honest... and the positioning feels "meh" to me. Not as contextual as I would like.

        Good luck.

        1 point
        • Sam Solomon, 6 years ago

          The rollup is a good thought. I can see users getting blasted with notification emails.

          Thanks!

          0 points
  • Stefan Rauch, 6 years ago

    Nay Eyal's "Hooked" would be an insightful read around this topic.

    1 point
  • Harpal Singh, 6 years ago

    I think it depends on what kind of notifications you are talking about. In our app, for example, we consider there to be 2 types, user action driven and system driven. Most of ours are also toast notifications, so appear based on user action in the product itself.

    We recently shared our visuals for them, you can view them here. https://dribbble.com/shots/2659240-Notifications

    1 point