Introducing quieter permission UI for notifications

January 7th, 2020

Notifications on the web enable users to receive important updates even when they are not interacting with a website. Notifications are an essential capability for a wide range of applications including messaging, calendars, email clients, ride sharing, social media and delivery services. Unfortunately, notifications are also a common complaint as many websites request the notification permission on the first visit rather than at contextually relevant moments in the user’s journey. Unsolicited permission requests interrupt the user’s workflow and result in bad user experience. To protect notifications as a useful service for users, Chrome 80 will show, under certain conditions, a new, quieter notification permission UI that reduces the interruptiveness of notification permission requests. Immediately after the Chrome 80 release, users will be able to opt-in to the new UI manually in Settings. In addition, the quieter UI will be automatically enabled for users under two conditions. First, for users who typically block notification permission requests and second, on sites with very low opt-in rates. The automated enrollment will be enabled gradually after the release while we gather user and developer feedback. Later in 2020, we plan to enable additional enforcement against abusive websites using web notifications for ads, malware or deceptive purposes. This enforcement will be described in detail in a future blog post.

Quiet UI overview

Introducing quieter permission UI for notifications
Quiet UI (Desktop and Mobile)

Enrollment & opt out

Users can be enrolled in the quieter UI in three ways.

Manual enrollment (and opt-out)

Introducing quieter permission UI for notifications
Manually enroll on Desktop or Mobile via Notifications Settings

Users can enroll for quieter prompts manually, or disable it completely. To enroll, the toggle ‘Sites can ask to send notifications’ must be enabled in Settings > Site Settings > Notifications, then the checkbox ‘Use quieter messaging’ must be checked.

Automatic enrollment for users who infrequently accept notifications

Users who repeatedly deny notifications across websites will be automatically enrolled in the quieter notifications UI.

Automatic enrollment on sites with low permission acceptance rates

Sites with very low acceptance rates will be automatically enrolled in quieter prompts. They will be automatically unenrolled once the user experience is improved. Per-site information about notification permission acceptance rates will be made available via the Chrome User Experience Report in Q1 2020.

Developer recommendations

First, we recommend that web developers test their site’s permission request flow with the quieter notification permission UI, by enabling it manually in chrome://settings/content/notifications. At the time of writing, the feature is being rolled out gradually to Canary, Dev, and Beta channels, and can be force-enabled in chrome://flags/#quiet-notification-prompts in Chrome 80 and later. Second, we recommend that developers follow best practices for requesting notification permission from users. Websites that ask users to sign up for web notifications when they first arrive often have very low acceptance rates. Instead, we recommend that websites wait until users understand the context and see the benefit in receiving notifications before prompting for permission. Some websites display a pre-prompt in the content area before triggering the native permission prompt. This approach is also not recommended if it interrupts the user journey: sites that request permission at contextually relevant moments enjoy lower bounce and higher conversion rates. For help with user permission UX, you can refer to this 5 minute video on improving your user permission acceptance rates, and read about best practices when requesting permissions.

Posted by PJ McLachlan, Product Manager