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On Android, a toast is a transient confirmation message appearing in the lower portion of the screen. Did Google consciously position the toast here for optimal usability?

I want to port this toast to iPhone. Will usability decline if I decide to put my toast in the center or top? Can I decide on where to position it depending on the severity of the message? For example, if the message is very important, should the toast be centered?

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  • What are you using it for? A simple confirmation notification inside the app?
    – Ben Brocka
    Commented Jun 6, 2012 at 19:09
  • I am building a video camera app. After watching some real users' videos, I noticed there was a fat-finger-syndrome of hitting the mute button and not realizing it. I would like to show a toast to warn against inadvertent muting.
    – JoJo
    Commented Jun 6, 2012 at 19:27

5 Answers 5

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Per Mike's response above, I would place the toast in close proximity to the user action, i.e. next to the mute button. If there is concern that it could be obscured by the user's fingers, then I would size and style it to avoid this.

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The alert is located toward the bottom of the screen with the assumption that it is close to your hand, which since you are holding your device, you are more than likely focused on (your hand).

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It really depends on the app. One thing that you have to consider is that many people are used to seeing the toast appear in the lower section of the screen. This means that you need to be sure that you make the message very clear and visible to the user. Otherwise you will end up with the scenario of a user repeating the action multiple times.

One example of this is a form submission that does not clearly indicate that the form is processing and being submitted, resulting in multiple submissions.

If you are conscious of those areas then usability will not suffer.

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I would suggest to put it on the upper section of the screen and also make it bigger, even in brighter colors if necessary. This will reduce the danger of users not spotting it.

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This is an old question, but one thing to keep in mind that nobody else seems to have mentioned is that if an action is typical and potentially frequent, a toast should be kept away from the action. Otherwise it could be obtrusive and could prevent users from accomplishing their task.

A toast should provide helpful feedback but should not be required. You say that they're used on Android for "confirmation", but more accurately they should be used for feedback that something happened. If a user sees the toast, great. If a user doesn't, then that should be okay too. IMO, most toasts should be kept out of the way.

Did Google consciously position the toast here for optimal usability?

Depends on what you're optimizing for. If you're optimizing for allowing users to accomplish their task (which is often what is meant by "usability"), then I think near the bottom is a reasonable location. If you're optimizing for visibility, then it's not. However, if you need to display an important, severe message, a toast would be inappropriate, especially since toasts are ephemeral.

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