Which one you think is better approach for viewing notification - facebook or quora/forrst (where you need to hitting the clear notification button) and why?

For reading notification in fb, you just hover on the notification icon and check all new (unread) notifications (with grey background) and once you move away from notification panel to the news feed area (during the same session) the new notifications are treated as read (with white background).

While Quora/Forrst forces users to click on the clear notification button or actually visiting all the new notification links -- which in most times is just new people following (Quora) or likes on your designs(Forrst)

Which of these 2 methods you feel is better - Forcing user to either view all notifications or clicking the call to action button vs unforced view of notification.

  • Whats the question here ?
    – Mervin
    Commented Dec 6, 2012 at 20:24
  • 2
    You've got to be more specific -- are you talking about pop-up notifications? The "notification icons" on the bar along the top? What? If you include a screen capture or five, that'll help... Commented Dec 6, 2012 at 20:42
  • Maybe you could provide screen shots, if you are refering to two specific examples. It is a bit hard to figure out what you are asking.
    – kontur
    Commented Dec 6, 2012 at 20:59

2 Answers 2


I don't think the user should ever have to explicity 'clear' a notification, such as the mechanism in Quora, or in recent past Google+. (Oops, I said ever) well here goes - The notification serves its purpose by bringing attention to the activity. It either needs to persist for future reference, such as your email's inbox unread count, or clear once the user is informed. Google+ recently made this mistake and has since updated their implementation of notifications to be more like a new email. You don't need to mark an email as read once it has been displayed in the reading view. Likewise, you don't need to clear a notification as having been seen once the user accesses the display of it, which is why Facebook's notifications clear automagically. Often, the unread notification and the new notification are not adequately separated. My take is that Quora just hasn't realized and fixed the implementation yet or there is some difficulty with their technology stack in doing so in a more user-friendly way. If you need more examples, check out the various ways notifications work in iOS.

  • @marjan, thanks - that's one of my particular peeves and a clear indication to me if the team knows their UX
    – Shash
    Commented Dec 7, 2012 at 18:59

it depends on the situation. If you need to take action based on notifications, making them disappear for a button is a good idea. In Facebook, you often don't even WANT to read it, so you just pass them easily this way..

If you're still unsure, ask 5 users, what they think..

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