We have an app where in a user needs to queue for a call with a consultant. Their queue number goes up each time the consultant finishes a session. E.g. From queue no. 3, it will become 2, and then 1.

What is the best way to alert the user that it's already their turn? I am thinking to have 1 'ding' sound each time the queue no. changes, and when it's the user's turn, will have another sound (longer sound, maybe like a ding-ding-ding).

The only problem is if they turn their sound off. Then there's no use for the sounds.

Is there any other way to do this?

4 Answers 4


You might be forgetting something here: The experience of waiting and how long it actually feels. Your users don't know yet that a double ding means it's their turn so they might be looking at their phone each time it single-dings expecting that they'll be helped, only to find that they still have to wait.

This would be something you'll have to test to find out how your target audience uses their device. Speaking from personal experience, whenever I'm placed in a que I always turn on my smartphone's speaker mode and put it down next to me.

That way I can continue working while hearing the que'ing music in the background. As soon as the representative starts talking I turn the speaker mode off and answer the call.

  • Visual feedback isn't foolproof as screens will often time-out / turn off.
  • Vibration could be an option although the intensity varies wildly per phone, depends on surface it's placed on and the option could be broken.

Sometimes too much feedback can be harmful. The sound every time the queue counter changes can be very annoying. It will interrupt users from other tasks they may be doing and increase waiting anxiety. I recommend that you make a short sound when the counter becomes 1 (only one ahead of them), and a different longer and louder sound when it is their turn.

Additionally to the sound as a feedback you may use :

  • Vibrations
  • Flashing screen or any other graphic animmation

The counter on the screen though should be update every time there is a change in the queue, so that users can look at their current position whenever they whish. Additionally to the counter consider adding estimated waiting time.

Also, something you may try to decrease waiting anxiety is to present videos, images, usuful information, even a small simple game, so that users will perveive the waiting time as less and more pleasant. (reference are your lights on ).


the user generally should not be expected to keep track of the number of sounds or vibrations and calculate his turn.

there must be continuous audio feedback stating his present queue status

if such is not the case then you can go with

  1. sound notification.
  2. vibration as stated.
  3. flash light or screen flash can be used.
  • "continuous audio feedback" sounds like a very bad idea. It reminds me of a teleconference system, hated by all, that repeatedly states "You are in a conference call! You are in a conference call!" until the host joins.
    – user31143
    Commented Apr 6, 2017 at 9:15
  • What exactly do you mean with continuous audio feedback? Like the waiting music when calling some automated telephone service? That's indeed functional but very annoying too!
    – jazZRo
    Commented Apr 6, 2017 at 10:02

I have encountered similar design issue when I was part of design team, designing for behavrioual change for people with diabetes.

From my experience, i would recommend push-notification, allowing the user to take control over the decision. Push notifications have been shown to increase user retention, with statistics showing anywhere from a 56% to a 180% improvement. Furthermore, users who have opted into receiving push notifications exhibit 88% higher app engagement than those who haven’t.Sending push notifications clearly impacts your retention rates.

If you can send push notifications in response to unique behaviors, you could increase retention by half of a percent. This is a positive increase, yet you can do even better. Mobile teams that use tools to understand and predict individual engagement patterns can garner big wins. Using machine learning algorithm-based tools like Optimal Time could result in retention rates almost 7x better by day 30.

Thus, based on your persona and user behavioral, you would know when to trigger the behavioral to let the user know that their turn is 5 minutes from now, providing the user the ability to make a decision either to skip their session or confirm before the actual event happens.

Additionally, I would recommend this app, it might give you great ideas. Fabulous won the best user engagement app according to google in 2016.

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