When to use
In-product notifications help us give customers the right message at the right time in the right place.
Notifications can be about new features, bug fixes, confirmations of work the customer completed, reminders of work they need to do, business insights, and other guidance.
We surveyed our users to see what kinds of notifications they want to see. In order of importance, the results indicated that customers want to see notifications that tell them:
- The latest QuickBooks features and fixes
- Tips and tricks to help them get the most out of QuickBooks /li>
- Messages and reminders that help them get work done
- Business insights and milestones
Notifications give users new, pertinent information in one place.
- Notifications don’t take the place of in-line messages, such as error messages or confirmation toasts.
- Notifications are not marketing opportunities.
- Notifications link the user into the product or to an external page, so they should include a call to action.
Before you start writing a notification
Because many teams across our product are working on awesome stuff, they may look to in-product notifications as the way to get the word out about said awesome stuff. As a content designer, you’ll be called upon to give your feedback (and/or to write the notification itself).
You’re also going to help folks figure out if a message should be a notification in the first place. To help figure that out, ask your stakeholders or project leaders these questions.
- Is this a new feature or capability we haven’t told users about? In other words, is this actual news?
- Is this a message that requires immediate attention or action?
- Can we cleanly, quickly, effectively communicate this in a few words?
- Is there an action users can take once we’ve shown them this message?
- Is an in-product notification the only way to communicate this message? Would customers prefer to see it in a different channel (email, in-line message, in-product discovery)?
If your team answers yes to these questions and everyone has determined that a notification is the way to go, keep a few points in mind as you craft the content.
What makes a good notification?
Keep in mind some basic intents and content pointers.
- It’s short and to the point. Sure, you have a 110-character limit, but ask yourself if you need to push it to that limit. Usually you don’t.
- It has a clear action. The call to action should be enticing, clear, strong, and punchy—leading the user to a place where they can easily get something done, learn something beneficial, or fix something—in one click.
- It’s used sparingly. Not everything is worth an announcement. If we overdo it, we’ll create a sense of both annoyance and distrust in our customers.
- It helps users get work done. That’s why they’re in our product, after all.
- It educates users about something new that will benefit them. Everyone wants to learn about something that will make their jobs easier or quicker.
- It tells them when something’s been fixed. Let the user know we’re constantly working to improve their experience.
- It gets out of their way. Notifications are only there to inform, to gently remind, or to give the user a starting point to get something fixed or done.