My team and I are working on a style guide for our programs that will be both in the form of webapps and programs. While creating this style guide, we are researching common practices in order to make using our product as easy as possible for the end user. After several hours of searching for standards related to notifications, warnings, and messages, we are coming up short.

Specifically, with messages, we are looking for when to use things like "Yes" "No" versus "Accept" and "Cancel" - Are they context dependent? Or should we keep them consistent so the user does not get confused? EDIT: I found this to answer my question: Should I use Yes/No or Ok/Cancel on my message box?

With notifications - Are there any standards as far as a notification bar goes? How many messages are displayed at once?

Warnings - Is there a user preference as to provide more information with warnings (like a tooltip) that describes the warnings in a little more detail so that they don't get confused as to what it means, and so that they stay in the loop and understand what the system tried to do.

We've checked the ISO, and found some good standards on other things like icons, and general interface design, but notifications (as far as we could tell) are not on there.

My initial guess is that something like this does not exist, but I wanted to ask you guys.

Does anyone know of a good resource to find these standards (if they exist)?

  • 1
    Generally, there are no standards to this type of thing because it depends on your app, its context, and the nature of the users you are making it for. You will likely find most of your answers through lots of User Testing. Having said this, there are lots of resources and inspiration available about things other app companies have tried. You could start there. (Credibility Note: Our company is also going through the exact same same thing.)
    – Pdxd
    Jun 15, 2015 at 15:40
  • Pdxd is correct. The only standard that really matters is the one your team comes up with.
    – DA01
    Jun 15, 2015 at 15:48
  • I assume you did a "competitors'" audit so you've seen what everyone else is doing. ("Competitor" in quotes because you'll want to see what sites in general are doing, not just your direct competitors.) Jun 15, 2015 at 17:54
  • Thanks for the replies everyone. Ken, that's exactly what we've been doing so far is just seeing how everyone else is doing them.
    – Nickar
    Jun 15, 2015 at 19:44

1 Answer 1


No, there is no one set of standards for this.

However, depending on the platform there will be design guidelines which should help you with platform-specific implementation for notifications, thus ensuring you design for the appropriate context and user.

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