Push Notification UX: The Full Guide 2021 (Updated)

Push notifications can lead to mass uninstalls - or a higher conversion rate

Push notification UX

Push notifications get the direct attention of your users.

If you design your push notifications right and send them at the right moment to the right target group, they are a valuable tool.

 Yet 71% of users uninstall apps because of annoying push notifications.

This means there is a misunderstanding between the designer of the notifications and the user.

But there is an easy way to turn this anti-UX pattern into something useful and valuable for you and your user.

Before you start to design your push notifications you have to know:

  • What your messaging is
  • How you should use push notifications and
  • Who your target group is

What is Push Notification UX?

A push notification is a text message which is sent by an app on your smartphone. There are push notifications on desktops sent by web browsers too, but this article focuses on mobile apps.

Push notifications can be sent for several reasons. Some of them are the following:

  • Highlights from the app, e.g. coupons, news
  • Important information
  • Reminders
  • A new activity, e.g. from friends who use the same app

Before you send a push notification you should ask yourself two questions:

  • Would I want to get this notification in a given situation?
  • Can I send this notification to someone I care about?

Types of Push Notifications

Push notifications can be classified into four different categories:

  • Banners: Appear for a short time on the screen and disappear after
  • Badges: Small (mostly) red circles that you can find on the corner of the belonging app
  • Alerts: Messages that pop up on the screen and require action from the user to open or close them
  • Sound: Mostly combined with other types of notifications and sometimes without a visible notification
Push Notification UX: The Full Guide 2021 (Updated) 1

Get the Opt-in

Before you can send your customer push notifications, you need permission.

A blank default request literally says nothing about the value you provide, your app, or the reason why the user should give you permission.

It’s better to create your own attractive screen before asking for permission.

Let the user know the importance and the value of your push notifications. Make them feel good about this decision.

From this screen, you can lead him to the official text. Your chances of getting positive feedback will definitely increase.

Furthermore, you should try to find the right moment to ask your user for permission. If you ask him directly while opening the app the first time he might not know what you can offer him and won’t give you permission.

What to say?

Use your words wisely!

You have about 10 words to write down what you want to tell your user. You have to make him interested and motivated to react to your notification and to make an impact.

You have to add a call to action like “slide for more information”, “have a look”, “share” or “read more”.

So you have to create a short, motivating, and brief notification. By keeping the 10-words-rule in mind, you can make sure that your text is completely readable on the push notification.


Personalized push notifications are 4 times more likely to be opened than non-personalized push notifications.

Being friendly and kind is not enough.

Let the user think that this is a message just for him. Let him feel that you are interested in HIM.

Don’t let the message look as if it’s for everybody.

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Are you wondering how you can personalize your push notification UX? You don’t have time to send special messages to everybody? This is not what you should do!

Just try to personalize the messages based on the user journey. Put your users into groups or segments and create special messages for every segment.

Think about a gaming app, here you can send special messages to the user depending on the level they are in at the moment.

Moreover, you can use transactional push notifications. Behaviorally push notifications are 9 times more likely to be opened than normal push notifications.  

There are notifications that will just be sent to one single user, so they are perfectly personalized.

Examples of these notifications could be special happenings in the user’s account, e.g. a not completed purchase or a shipped package.

If you want to have more general information about personalization and customization, this article about App Personalization and why you should think about it will be interesting for you. 

The Landing Page

When your user opens the push notification you should lead him to the right page or the right part of your app.

Your user will probably be annoyed when the notification just opens the app or opens a page that is not related to the notification.

When to send a push notification?

Push notification time

Definitely NOT when the user is sleeping.

First, they will be annoyed if they haven’t set their smartphone in a not-disturbing-mode.

Second, most of the users don’t read all the push notifications they get during the night.

Moreover, you have to look at the local time zone the user lives in. The app’s user peak is about 8 p.m. It’s best to use the time slot from 6 pm to 10 pm for your important push notifications to be seen by the user directly.

Urgent information

There is one exception concerning the time to send push notifications.

If something very important happens during the night, they don’t want to know this the next evening. But make sure that the information you call urgent is considered to be urgent for your user too.

Take in mind that notifications should be sent during the day or in the evening. And important notifications (10% off coupons are not an urgency) whenever they are important. Furthermore, care about the timezone of your users.

How many notifications are okay for a good UX?

This depends on which kind of app you have and which content you provide.

If you want to inform users about new products in your shop, you should set a limit per day. If you spam your users, they will be annoyed and delete your app.

On the other hand, imagine how you would feel when a messaging app would have a limit of 5 push notifications per day.

If you write a lot with other people or get many messages you probably want to be informed about every message you get.

Try to imagine how important the notifications are and how important it is that your user sees this on his start screen.

Push Notification Amount

Don’t send unimportant notifications

Your user gets no value if you offer him a flight to London that he already booked hours or days ago. He’ll feel as if you send these messages randomly or don’t care about him at all.

It would be better if you could offer him a hotel in London now, but don’t offer him stuff that he has already bought. It’s a better idea to send the user a coupon for his next flight.

Duplicate notifications inside the app

This might sound strange but this will help your users.

If a user opens the push notification he might not have read the complete text. If he wants to know what you wanted to tell him or what exactly you have written he has no chance to read the text again unless you give him the chance.

Give the user the chance to re-read the push notification you sent him.

Clear the Badge

There is nothing more annoying getting a push notification you haven’t opened yet and there is a red circle on the corner of one of your apps.

There are many users who don’t like to have unopened badges. Give them the chance to clear their badges by opening your app.

Don’t let them tap around your app to find the right screen, which lets the badge disappear. You won’t get your user to read the content you provide him, even if you let him tap around till he has opened the right page. It’s the opposite.

Test your push notification UX

A simple way to find out if your created push notification UX fits the needs of your target group is testing.

You can just test your push notification or you can make an A/B test. You can send two different versions of your notification to a segment of your users and see which version generates more revenue.

This can help you to find the most effective version of your notification. Moreover, it prevents you from sending a lot of notifications which generate no or just a very small revenue.

Don’t limit yourself to push notifications!

The Push notification UX is important when you get in touch with your user. There are more ways you can try it out. Select your notification method based on the urgency of the information and the target group.

If you want to find more ways to improve your mobile UX, visit us at uxcam.com!

Related Articles:


What types of push notifications exist?

Push notifications can appear in the form of banners, badges, alerts or sound.

Do push notifications cause uninstalls?

Push notifications can cause uninstalls if they are badly executed. 71% of users claim to uninstall apps because of push notifications.

However, push notifications do have a positive impact on your app’s metrics if they are implemented properly.

Push Notification UX: The Full Guide 2021 (Updated)