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I have a question, I'm implementing desktop notifications to allow users to see on site notifications while they are browsing another website. I have 2 options to ask for permission:

  1. Give the user an alert using sweet alert to explain why we need them and if they click yes give them the standard browser accept dialog (e.g. the blue bar on chrome) and show "Accept the notification at the top of this page to enable desktop notifications" in the same alert (sweetalert)
  2. Display the standard browser accept dialog (e.g. the blue bar on chrome) instantly and show a small alert at the top of the page explaining why we need the desktop notifications

Which one offers the best UX considering the user doesn't know a thing about desktop notifications? Please explain why you think so and what your answer is based on.

Thanks in advance!

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Recommend option 1. Not all users will pay attention and not all users will appreciate a dialog box appearing and asking for permissions that they may not want. A warning beforehand (more appropriately, an opening dialog) is enabling to users. It enables them to know all of the information prior to making a decision. It also enables them to say yes or no to the decision with a clear conscience. Just asking, while simpler (and great for power users), is something a lot of people have started to say no to for a number of reasons:

  • Security - not safe to say yes; recommend saying "we will never blahblahblah" just for peace of mind
  • Clarity - Asking for permission with context turns the cold "call" to a warm dialog
  • Information - Most people don't know how desktop notifications work or look. This is a perfect time to show an example!
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I'm always against asking things double, which -in my opinion- provides a bad UX. I would go with option 2 since it costs the user less clicks.

It could also be confusing for people that don't understand why you need permission from the browser: They clicked yes on your website and need to click yes again on the browser, that doesn't make sense to them I guess.

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