5 Ways To Strategically Design User-Centric Push Notifications

Every once in a while, you’ll come across push notifications on your phone or on a mobile design, and wonder why they’re there to begin with. But then again, if you’re a mobile app developer, then chances are you rely on push notifications to get the word out on any updates, reminders, etc. that your app might have.

But what happens when users get annoyed with the notifications? What happens when they end up deleting the app, because they’re sick and tired of the pointless notifs? Chances are, you may have to look at how you’re sending out notifs. If it’s been a while since you’ve updated your notifs, or haven’t made enough effort to keep them compelling, then it’s time to change it up – it’s time to make them user-centric!

Before we look at the best ways to create user-centric push notifications, let’s explore why it’s so important that you reassess your notification strategy.

Why Your Push Notifications Need A Nudge

If you built your app some time in the past you’ll have designed your push notifications, if you even have them, at the time. And you might have been happy with them! But there’s a lot that can go wrong with push notifications that aren’t specifically designed to be user-centric. Push notifications that aren’t tailored to the user can have the unwarranted effect of alienating your users or annoying them. So it’s important to reexamine your notifications from time to time.

When you rebuild your notifs strategy you have an opportunity to engage your users. Research has shown that app users start out emotionally invested in their app – when it’s new, they’re more interested in it –  and slowly lose interest over time. Users become habituated into ignoring notifications and ultimately these notifications lose their power.

Redesigning your notifications with the latest user-centric theory at its core lets you harness the power of push notifications once again. Users Users have a direct line back into the app, they’ll spend more time there and they’ll update to the latest version.

Since push notifications are meant to create meaningful interactions that brands can use to increase mobile app engagement and retention, here are 5 ways that you can make your app’s motifs user-centric:

1. Make Your Content Dynamic

“Having dynamic content allows you to gain useful information about users based on their profiles and how often they use your app,” says William North, a web developer at OXEssays and Simple Grad. “You can take a user’s interactions and habits, and create push notifications that let them know about anything that they might be interested in. That’s considered dynamic content, because you’re appealing with users, based on how they interact with your app.”

To build dynamic push notifications you’ll need some of the user’s history, but you can build your app to gather most of this data in the background. This user history can then curate the way that push notifications are organized in order to provide a highly curated notif that brings the user back into your app. By focussing on the unique needs of every user, you’ll maximize the rates with which they interact with your app.

2. Look At Location Data

Some apps may ask users permission to use their location to make the experience better. If they answer “yes” to this, then this allows you to keep track of specific users. Then, you can leverage this data by tailoring the messages for real-time updates and links to personalized content.

Geofencing, for example, has become possible when users enable location-based notifs. This provides the user with highly-relevant content that’ll serve a specific purpose, thus allowing the app developer and company to market to their target users with valuable location-based data.

For example, the app HotelTonight preempts its users by gathering location data and providing realtime information about accommodation in the area, including pricing and availability. The app can then create a push notification that’s exceptionally specified to the users needs. By saving individuals from performing several steps themselves, the push notification puts the app at the forefront of the user’s experience.

3. Segments And Triggers

User segmentation is essential when creating user-centric push notifications, because not every notification you want to send will be relevant to every single user. So, by segmenting your audience, you’ll ensure that the information that they receive is valuable to them. Consider segmenting your users based on the following:

  • Interests
  • Behaviors
  • Location, AND
  • User involvement (how often they interact with the app)

Once you have users in these demographics you can tailor the information they receive. But you can also tailor this i information by user behaviour (or a lack thereof). Triggers are released when users engage in the app in a certain way, or disengage for a while. For example, a clothes store app might have people browsing and adding things to their basket. Neglecting this basket for a period of 24 hours could trigger a push notification reminding the user, bringing them back to the app.

4. Time It Right

“It can be tempting to send out a push notification at any time you want,” says Hortense Labrosse, a tech writer at Topcanadianwriters and Academized. “However, that can be detrimental to your cause, because no matter how important your message is, sending at the wrong times can either irritate users, or they’ll miss it all together.”

Notifications regarding upcoming appointments, for example, receive higher engagement, because they’re usually sent out at the start of the day. As such, appointments and other reminders are more relevant to users than notifs regarding a software update.

“To time your notifications right, you’ll have to look at the user data, regarding behavior and interaction times,” adds Labrosse. “For example, if most users interact with messages in the mornings, hold off on your notifications until the right moment at the local morning time.”

5. Test Frequently

Finally, just like any other part of your app, you have to A/B test push notifications to see that they’re working properly, and if they’re making an impact on your app. As you run an A/B test, you may want to experiment with wording, the length of the message, and timing, along with segmentation and frequency of your notifs.

An A/B test gives you statistics about how users respond to different notifications, so you have real world evidence that certain push notifications are more effective than others. That means you’ll need to come up with a few variations on your notifaction’s themes – you can change your tone or use a more active and direct voice to see if that encourages more users to click.

And, keep testing your notifs, so that you get them right every time they’re sent out, because A/B testing is never a one-time thing in the app-developing world. Continue to monitor your push notifications performance and you’ll see app uptake rocketing.


So, as you can see, sending push notifications for an app is essential. However, when done right, not only will you keep your users, but you’ll also create a great reputation for the app. Although tolerance for notifications, the content, and their frequency can vary, you should still make your notifs user-centric for any and every user scenario. By following these 5 practices, your notifs won’t go largely ignored or ridiculed, but rather, get more interactions from users, thus increasing the value of your app and generating more revenue.

Katherine Rundell is an app writer and editor at Essay Roo and Top Writing Services Reviews. She is also a contributing writer and proofreader at BoomEssays. As a tech writer, she writes about the latest trends in technology and social media.