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I have an "alert menu" that currently shows the number of unseen alerts.

Alerts are e.g., comments on status, name tagged, etc.

The indication that there are alerts prompts the user to click on the alert are which shows all the alerts.

Think facebook's alert menu.

I had an idea to clean up the design by removing the number of alerts and instead simply show that alerts exist for the user's attention.

Is this a sensible design choice?

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That depends on your context. Can you please give more background and show any research that you've done? – JohnGB Jan 22 '13 at 10:19
The context is I have an "alert menu" that shows the number of unseen alerts. Alerts are e.g., comments on status, name tagged, etc. Like Faceook's alert menu. I cannot see examples where this has been implemented consciously as design choice. – rikAtee Jan 22 '13 at 10:28
up vote 6 down vote accepted

This little change may become a pain for your users.

Since number of notifications will not only show user a level of activity but also let him or she decide what to do and when to do it (i.e. an user sees just one notification and thinks he can postpone it for later, or he sees a hundred of notifications and that means something important may happen so he should perform an action now, etc).

The only reason to remove it is that it's not effective (i.e. there are hundreds or thousands of notifications so user just can't get all of them, etc). The actual solution for this case will be to review the notification system and reduce number of notifications somehow, like throwing some of the notifications away, etc.

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