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I have an application that sometimes needs to display multiple urgent notifications. Sometimes there will be one, sometimes more. It might even need to add a notification while others are already shown.

If there would be many possible notifications, I would go with a textbox or similar. However, there are only around 3 of them. The notifications are not one liners, but they are short.

What would be the best way to show them?

  1. Have a specific location for each one? (But then when only one is showing, there will be empty space before/after it.)
  2. Have them added from top to bottom (but then the user won't automatically know which one is which without reading it).

Or some other method?

Here is the general idea of what it looks like when all 3 are shown:

enter image description here

  • Can you categorize these messages as "Notifications"? – Sheraz Apr 13 '18 at 13:03
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You should probably use toasts, showing one notification per toast, and make them sticky (they remain until the problem is corrected or explicitly dismissed). This allows each notification to be distinct. This also allows new notifications to pop up even while the old ones are being worked on.


Here's my lousy MS Paint drawing, since I can't seem to get Flash working on my system:

Multiple Toasts

  • Thanks. But that is out of the question, as a user will not see all toasts at the same time. Only one toast is visible at a time. They do not really "remain". – ispiro Apr 13 '18 at 15:21
  • @ispiro It depends on your design. Have you seen Google Chrome toasts? They stack on top of each other in the lower-right corner, and can be individually dismissed. I would recommend about 3 toasts maximum, and keep a queue for the remaining toasts. Showing a single UI element means that they have to internally conceptualize that there's three different problems. This is also an incredibly uncommon UX. – phyrfox Apr 13 '18 at 15:25
  • Thanks. I misunderstood you. I thought you're referring to Windows' toast notifications. So what you're suggesting is similar to option 2 that I offered only with separate OK/Close buttons for each notification. Do you have a reasoning why this (option 2) would be better that option 1 (other than what I brought)? – ispiro Apr 15 '18 at 17:38
  • @ispiro Yes, the reason for each is because the messages are distinct; the users can immediately determine that there's three different problems to solve, and also allows them to dismiss each problem individually as they are addressed. Showing more than one error message in a single box is confusing to the average user, and in some cases, the user might even forget everything they had to do if they're forced to dismiss all the errors at once. – phyrfox Apr 15 '18 at 17:51
  • Thanks. But I asked (in the comment) about the difference between options 1 and 2 in my question. i.e. Why is it better to have them in chronological order as opposed to a set order. – ispiro Apr 15 '18 at 17:54

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