Building a Meaningful Notification System for Digital Platforms

  • What is the notification?
  • How is the tone of voice?
  • What is the person doing when he/she receives the notification?
  • What time of the day are they getting the notification?
  • How many times are they getting notified?
  • What is the location of the person when he/she receives the notification?

Exhibit A

A notification sent by Ola cabs
  • It is asking me if I fancy an international trip at an hour when I am most probably having my lunch.
  • I usually travel in the mornings or evenings via Ola. Getting this message at a time when I am most likely to book a cab, would have made me interested in it.
  • And at that moment, let’s say I was more interested in going to Bangkok than Nepal. So clearly, I ignored the notification.

Exhibit B

Box8 message
  • A notification to save money on lunch, around month end is relevant. I usually order my lunch between 11:30 am — 12:00 pm. And this notification from Box8 meals was timed well. In terms of content, the message or value was conveyed easily.
  • Another factor to decide the importance of this message for me would be my location. This message wouldn’t be of any importance to me if I was at a location where Box8 meals are not available.

Exhibit C

OTP notification for railway pass booking
Bank OTP notification for railway pass booking

Framework for Notification System

Identify the intent and value of the notification

Recommendations on Amazon Prime based on titles you have watched.

Origin of the notification

Instagram notification for likes on picture

Building the Message

A. Information (What)

  • How is this message going to affect the user?
  • What emotions do you want the user to feel while using your platform?
  • What situation is the user in at the moment?
  • How can you maintain the user’s state of mind or put them in a better one?
Box8 delivery update

B. Timing and Location (When)

Insider Notification

C. Type of notification (How)

  • User Generated Notifications: This type of notifications are targeted towards specific people. Their content is created by an action of a user on the app. Mobile messaging or WhatsApp messaging are examples for this category.
  • Context Generated Notifications: These notifications are generated by the digital platform based on user permission. One example of this could be the location based notifications from Zomato or Swiggy, where the apps send you offers and recommendations based on current location.
  • System Generated Notifications: These notifications are generated by the digital platform based on application needs. These type of notifications can help in re-engagement or some users may term it as spam based on the value they provide.
  • Push Notifications: All the above notification types can be push notifications also. They ideally appear on the locked screen or at the top without interrupting the user’s activity. These messages have a limited word count as well. Push notifications are of two types. One that requires you to take immediate action and the second one is passive notification. Most of the examples shown above are passive notifications. The image below shows a notification of a Medium article that seeks an immediate reaction:
Push notification with action


Single Notification Center Platforms: Facebook & Pinterest
WhatsApp Navigation Channel

Final Thoughts



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Robosoft Technologies

Robosoft Technologies


A full-service digital transformation company | Product advisory | Design strategy | UX/UI | Application Development & Maintenance | Emerging Technologies