I have been experimenting with ways to notify a user when a running web application requires their attention.


Adding badges to the favorite icon seems to work well but I am having a hard time backing that up with data.

Is there any reason that changing the window icon at all is bad UX?

If not then I'll go ahead and test it out with users otherwise I will explore other alternatives. (other suggestions are welcome thanks)

  • 1
    A badge likely won't draw too much attention. Blinking or changing color is likely the way to go. As the objective is to draw attention--assuming this is a benefit to the user, then it makes sense.
    – DA01
    Commented Jan 9, 2015 at 18:59
  • 1
    When you get a new message on Facebook, it cycles between the regular title and a title indicating someone messaged you, creating what I've seen described as a "flashing" effect which would grab the user's attention more quickly than a badge on the favicon, especially if the favicon is visually busy to begin with
    – rach oune
    Commented Jan 9, 2015 at 19:07
  • Good point rach. I'll test changing the title and see if people notice that more
    – DaveAlger
    Commented Jan 9, 2015 at 20:21
  • (Note that the latests versions Safari (and maybe other browsers?) aren't displaying this icon in the URL bar.) Commented Jan 11, 2015 at 15:48

1 Answer 1


It's a good question. No, there's no good reason that it's a problem. Take a look at how Invision does it; they do it with the text instead of the icon.

DA01 is right, it shouldn't be too distracting. What banking sites do is have a pop-up when you've got a minute left before you're logged out, which works very well. Google Calendar does something similar for an upcoming event. Depending on the use of your website/webapp, that may be the better route.

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