I'm speaking of alerts that don't require the users direct attention, more of a "oh, by the way, this actions just happened". Not much unlike gmail's "you action has been undone" or "Your message has sent".

Gmail's 'your action has been undone' alert

I would hate to have to click "OK" every single time that that I send an email in gmail, but it's good to know that the action completed without error.

Is there a standard name for these types of alerts and are there rules as to when I should use them?

  • These are often called "flash messages". There are a few old threads here about them.
    – Kit Grose
    Commented Jun 4, 2015 at 21:24

3 Answers 3


In Android, there is a "Toast" that is a message that is displayed briefly and then automatically disappears.


"Notifications" is what you're talking about. As for rules, it's basically the scenario you outlined: use notifications when you just want to tell the user about something and no action is required on his or her part. A separate but related thing are "push notifications" on mobile devices (typically showing up on the phone's message bar).

  • We use the same classifications. I'd be interested to hear if there are other terms.
    – Johnny UX
    Commented Jun 4, 2015 at 20:22

I think this is platform dependent. Different platforms have their own ways to name those. I find the names given by Apple for Mac OSX more intuitive.

Banner Appear for a short period of time and then disappear without interrupting what user is doing.

Alert Requires user's action and are important announcements that appear similar to banners

I think notification is too broad term that can contain both banner and alert and even badge.

Find more info here https://support.apple.com/en-gb/HT204079

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.