I'm trying to figure out a UX solution to a notification problem. If there is a notification badge that appears on an app on an iOS device, when the user taps the app icon is there an expectation that the same badge should appear within the resulting app view? Or is it expected that the user have to search for:

  1. What the badge is referring to (e.g. new books, new messages, etc.)
  2. Where the results are located in the appenter image description here
  • I'd lean towards listing 1&2 within the app...perhaps a notification screen.
    – DA01
    Apr 29, 2014 at 19:06

2 Answers 2


If the user already had the app opened, let's say the email app, you would want to return them to the email they were viewing and if the app is just opening I would open it at the home screen for that app. This seems to be a very standard behaviour across iOS apps .

The UI should be extremely clear what the notifications are referring to though, so the user can act on them (especially if you are not notifying them of something that has updated on the main screen).

So for SnapChat, they take you to the camera view when you open the app but it's clear on the UI how to see the notifications.

Snapchat UI

And for the Mailbox app, they take you to the email overview (which is what the notifications are for) but it's still clear on that UI that those emails are what it was notifying you of.

Mailbox UI


In my personal experience that expectation isn't there because it should be fairly obvious what the number badge is referring to. In the case of the 6 in the screenshot you posted, it's known that there are 6 unread emails in the user's mailbox.

Now if the app had number badges for multiple things, say voicemails and missed calls then it would be handy to have the numbers inside the app.

I'd say the expectation isn't there but in some cases it might be handy to break down the number into smaller badges inside the app.

  • that's a good point. If the notification badge isn't obvious as to what it refers to, maybe it's not useful for the user.
    – DA01
    Apr 29, 2014 at 20:09

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