We're including opt-in (on/off) for push notifications in an app, and I've heard feedback from project managers that some of the language might be too technical for the average shopper, like 'Push Notifications'.

I believe that on average, smart phone users are familiar with this term because of it's ubiquitous use in system settings, and in other apps.

What are your thoughts?

Is there a more obvious term to use for an on/off setting?

  • 2
    What's wrong with just "Notifications"? Nov 16, 2012 at 17:37
  • 1
    Nothing as a term, but there is a difference between the user choosing to accept messages on demand (pull, doesn't require opt-in), and the user choosing to allow the system to deliver (push) messages to the app/phone at will. (also note: SMS messages is a separate opt-in) ... Isn't it important to include the 'push' part of the concept?
    – Rob
    Nov 16, 2012 at 17:54

1 Answer 1


In context (i.e. while using the app), "Notifications" is probably the most user friendly language choice.

Examples from iOS:

  1. iOS main settings uses "Notifications"
  2. Facebook uses "Notifications" (interestingly when you click into this, the heading reads "Manage Push Notifications")
  3. Twitter uses "Notifications"

These companies spend countless time and money on user research and usability testing, not that this means they are 100% correct all the time, but if you're unable to do your own research it's probably a safe bet to follow the patterns established by the big guys.

  • You're right, interestingly I have looked at the iOS setting countless times, but missed that 'Push' has been omitted from the 'Notifications' Center. The initial iOS permission request however does say 'X would like to send you push notifications' ... maybe just 'notifications' is enough to get the point across.
    – Rob
    Nov 16, 2012 at 17:58
  • Notifications, for all intents and purposes, would always be push; if you want to pull data, you'd go to the app itself. I'm hard-pressed to think of a context in which "notification" does not imply "push" in modern smartphone context (I suppose you could have an app where you go in and click "download notifications" and get them from a central server, but you never see that in practice in this context and I'd argue that terminology would be confusing) Nov 16, 2012 at 18:01
  • Agreed. I appreciate your feedback.
    – Rob
    Nov 16, 2012 at 18:25

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