I'm building an app where notifications are issued on an set interval for distinct events. Several notifications might fire at the one time.

I believe it is more desirable to bundle the notifications into a single notification, as described in the android notification design patterns - Summarize your notifications. And I'd love to do that, but each notification has a separate target activity on click. If I bundle them altogether, then I would need to provide some intermediate list to direct the user to; and that seems wasteful.

What would the user like more, several notifications firing from the same app at once, or an extra activity listing "things to action" linked from a single summary notification? Or is there another solution?

3 Answers 3


Please, please summarise them into one notification. It's stressful to see the notification bar full and have to deal with that many separate notifications.

It's claustrophobic in there, as the bar isn't well designed for that many pieces of information. UX Claustrophobia is a real thing!

Could you use Android's notification setting to give people two options? One could be the action for the most recent notification, the second one could be go to the full list inside the app?

Better yet, you could even offer a toggle so people can choose to have grouped or separated notifications - then you're allowing customers to choose.


I agree with @Jacktionman that you should provide an option for your users to choose between the behaviours; however I would say that if you're going to mandate one you should stick to separate notifications.

The problem is that while consolidated notifications might look prettier they convey less information to the user, and may force him to undertake actions which he might not have wanted to.

I'll use the Google Hangouts app as an example: if you have one unread message and you look in your notification drawer you will see that you have an unread message, who it is from, when it arrived, and as much as the message text that can be crammed into the description (my Note 3 seems to flip a coin between ellipses and expanding the notification so all the message fits on, but I digress...)

However, if I then receive another Hangouts message, then all of that information is taken away from me! I am told that I have 2 unread messages and that is all. To get the same level as information I had as when I only had one unread message then I have to tap the notification to go to the app. This cripples the at-a-glance convenience of the notification drawer.

Furthermore, in some apps the act of activating the notification will trigger some further action in the app. To continue the Hangouts example, if I open a conversation thread then Hangouts will inform the other members of the conversation that I have now read all previously sent messages and leave them expecting my reply; when the truth of the matter might well be that IRL I had the chance to quickly glance at a message, but am not currently in a position to reply.


There's another approach you could take.

Lets take an example.

If notification A comes at 10 AM and notification B comes at 10 30 AM and notification C comes at 11 AM.

Let's say that user accesses his/her phone at 11 30 AM.

You can essentially display the notifications in 2 ways :

  1. Display the latest notification.

    When the user taps the latest(notification C) notification, the pertinent activity opens up, but at the same time notification B is now displayed in the notification bar. When the user taps notification B the pertinent activity is open and now notification A is displayed in the bar.

  2. Display : 3 unread messages

    On tapping the notification the latest one (notification C) pops off that stack and gets executed. Now the notification displays 2 unread messages.

  3. You can also mix approach no.1 and no.2 and display the latest notification while at the same time adding sub text in the notification showing how many notifications are remaining.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.