Designing for Noticeability: Understanding the Impact of Visual Importance on Desktop Notifications

Philipp Müller; Sander Staal; Mihai Bâce; Andreas Bulling

In: CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. ACM International Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI-2022), Pages 1-13, ACM, 2022.


Desktop notifications should be noticeable but are also subject to a number of design choices, e.g. concerning their size, placement, or opacity. It is currently unknown, however, how these choices interact with the desktop background and their influence on noticeability. To address this limitation, we introduce a software tool to automatically synthesize realistically looking desktop images for major operating systems and applications. Using these images, we present a user study (N=34) to investigate the noticeability of notifications during a primary task. We are first to show that visual importance of the background at the notification location significantly impacts whether users detect notifications. We analyse the utility of visual importance to compensate for suboptimal design choices with respect to noticeability, e.g. small notification size. Finally, we introduce noticeability maps - 2D maps encoding the predicted noticeability across the desktop and inform designers how to trade-off notification design and noticeability.

mueller22_chi.pdf (pdf, 7 MB )

Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz
German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence