Guidelines for toast notifications

Applies to Windows and Windows Phone

This topic describes when to use toast notifications and provides recommendations for how to create and send toasts.

Example

A toast notification alerts a user that his or her favorite food truck changed its location.

Toast notification from a restaurant app appears in upper right corner of screen.

Should my app include toast notifications?

Toasts allow your app to provide time-sensitive or personally relevant notifications to users regardless of whether they are in another app or on the Start screen, lock screen, or desktop. For example, you could use a toast to inform a user of:

  • an incoming VOIP call
  • a new instant message
  • a new text message
  • a calendar appointment or other reminder
  • other personally valuable notifications that a user requests.

Keep in mind that users must opt-in to receive toast notifications and can disable them at any time.

Dos and don'ts

Consider the following recommendations when adding toast notifications to your app:

  • Navigate to an appropriate destination in your app when the user clicks a toast. Consider that notifications are an invitation to switch context rather than a strictly informational update.
  • Provide alternate ways for users to get the info provided in a toast if it's important. For example, you may want to display related information on your app's live tile or within your app.
  • Combine multiple related updates that occur within a short period of time into a single toast notification. For instance, if you have three new updates that arrive at the same time, the app or app server should raise a single notification that states that there are three new updates rather than display three separate notifications.
  • Present information in the simplest possible form. If your content doesn't require a headline, omit it. A message such as "Your download is complete." is entirely complete and needs no additional presentation.
  • Use images when they add clear value to the message, such as a photo of the sender of a message.
  • Hide notifications if they are no longer valid. For example, hide a toast about an incoming call if the other party has hung up or the user has already answered on another device. Note that you can only hide notifications when your app is running.
  • Don't use toast notifications to notify the user of critical information. Instead, to ensure that critical alerts are seen, notify users within your app using a flyout, dialog, app bar, or other inline element.
  • Don't include text telling the user to "click here to..." It is assumed that all toast notifications have a click or tap action that will take the user to the associated app.
  • Don't use toast notifications to notify the user of transient failures or network events, such as a dropped connection.
  • Don't use toast notifications for anything with a high volume of notifications, such as stock price information.
  • Don't use toast notifications to notify the user of routine maintenance events, such as the completion of an anti-virus scan.
  • Don't raise a toast notification when your app is in the foreground and a more contextual surface such as an inline element, flyout, dialog, or app bar is available. For example, additional instant messages that are related to an ongoing conversation that is in view should update the conversation inline rather than continue to raise a toast with each new message. Listen for the PushNotificationReceived event to intercept push notifications when your application is running.
  • Don't add generic images such as icons or your app logo in the image field of a notification.
  • Don't place your app's name in the text of the notification. Users will identify your app by its logo, which is automatically included in the toast notification.
  • Don't use your app to ask users to enable toast notifications if they have chosen to disable them. Your app is expected to work without toast notifications.
  • Don't automatically migrate your balloon notification scenarios to toast—consider that it may be more appropriate to notify the user when they aren't immersed in a full-screen experience (desktop style apps only).
  • Don't use toast notifications for non-real-time information, such as a picture of the day.
  • Don't hide toast notifications unless absolutely necessary.
  • Don't notify the user of something they didn't ask to be notified about. For instance, don't assume that all users want to be notified each time one of their contacts appears online.

Related topics

For designers
Toast notification overview
Certification requirements for Windows apps
The toast template catalog
Choosing a notification delivery method
Toast XML schema
For developers (HTML)
Toast notification overview
Certification requirements for Windows apps
The toast template catalog
Choosing a notification delivery method
Toast XML schema
Guidelines for periodic notifications
Quickstart: Sending a toast notification
Quickstart: Sending a push notification
How to opt in for toast notifications
How to schedule a toast notification
For developers (XAML)
Toast notification overview
Certification requirements for Windows apps
The toast template catalog
Choosing a notification delivery method
Toast XML schema
Guidelines for periodic notifications
Quickstart: Sending a toast notification
How to opt in for a toast
How to schedule a toast notification
Quickstart: Sending a toast notification from the desktop
How to enable desktop toast notifications through an AppUserModelID
Samples
Toast notifications sample
Sending toast notifications from desktop apps sample

 

 

Show:
© 2014 Microsoft