D&T Special Edition #7

Notifications Need Better Design

Hi there!
This is the seventh edition of D&T Special, a more in-depth view of topics that interest the Canvs team. Today’s topic – How notifications require some much needed attention.

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✍️ From the Canvs Research & Editorial Desk

If you’ve read our previous piece on calm design, you’ll observe that the Canvs team members are big fans of finding ways to design experiences that impress but don’t intrude, for more reasons than simply preventing annoyance. Notifications become a big part of the new-age design problem, particularly as the products we are talking about are becoming more complex and ingrained into our daily lives.

This week the Canvs R&E team has spent some time pondering this concept, let’s dive into some details.


Notifications evoke mixed reactions from users. Many a time they find it useful. Many a time they are annoyed by them. But for better or worse notifications serve a core purpose. They are powerful tools to inform users of app crashes, introduce them to new features & updates, and inform them about new messages and emails. From a marketing perspective, they help connect with users who have abandoned apps and promote engagement.

Notifications are by nature anti-UX. They are a distraction. With that in mind, how to design your notification so that it becomes purposeful and useful?

To achieve this, we need to observe the anatomy, intent and permissivity of an ideal notification.

Key takeaways from this read:

1. The anatomy of a notification

On paper, a notification seems simple. It’s a message that demands attention from users by catching their attention through design elements like colours often accompanied by a sound. The notification can also have an action associated with it (like a reply to messages). However, there are more variables one can control in order to customize a notification. Slack does a great job of breaking down notifications into actionables and non-actionables, such that not every ping that comes in evokes anxiety in the mind of the user.

2. The intent of a notification

Just like cookies, notifications also fall into different buckets depending on their intent, like utility, security, informative, time-sensitive, and promotional to name a few. Since every notification has a different priority level, it is important to provide users easy control over the type of notifications they want to receive and more importantly what they don’t. Here’s a great read on how to parse out purposes and types of notifications.

3. The permissivity of a notification

If a user wishes to cancel the subscription, the option to do so should be easily accessible. Moreover, it’s a good choice to bid users adieu on a good note, so they choose to return to your product if and when required, with an open mind.

📚 What we were reading this week

How economic globalization, generational transition, and technology converge to flatten the consumer experience.

The idea here is to have a system in place so that individuals can access their digitized health records anyplace anytime.

Techniques which allow the sharing of data whilst keeping it secure may revolutionise fields from healthcare to law enforcement.

The Digital Markets Act will force Big Tech platforms to break open their walled gardens in 2023, says the EU’s new ambassador to Silicon Valley.

Twitter, the company, makes very little interesting technology; the tech stack is not the valuable asset. The asset is the user base: hopelessly addicted politicians, reporters, celebrities.

Ferrari last won Le Mans in 1965; it hopes this car will change that.

Tracxn is a publicly listed company with ~INR 800 Cr valuation, cash-flow positive, going at 30% CAGR.Can it be the Bloomberg of private markets?

Some highlights from the past month of D&T

And that’s the lot! Thanks for checking out what we had to share with you this week, we shall catch up with you next Wednesday. Incase you aren’t subscribed to the newsletter, you could subscribe here.

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