Notifications inform users about application-specific events, such as a new email message or a meeting reminder. You can trigger an application notification when a new event or new information is available that users might want to know about. In general, the more important and time-critical the notification, the more intrusive it should be.

Use the following information to decide how best to notify users without overwhelming them or interrupting them too often.

Icon splat

The simplest and most subtle way to inform users of a new event is to add a splat to the application icon. This approach shows users that new information is available without interrupting them or forcing them to take action.

Use for: New podcasts or game levels available to download

Don't use for: Alarms (too time-critical) or new posts in a social network (too frequent)

This screen shows an icon splat.

Message in the inbox

If your application sends messages (such as email or text messages) then you can add new messages to the inbox.

Use for: Email, text, and Facebook messages

Don't use for: Reminders or new podcasts

When a new message arrives, a splat is added to the application icon.

The screen shows messages in an inbox.

Item in the notification list

If you want to communicate something important but your application does not send messages, you can add an item to the notification list. This approach provides users with an entry point into the application. When items are no longer relevant, they should be removed from the list (for example, a low battery notification is removed when the BlackBerry device is connected to a charger).

Use for: Travel updates and open Wi-Fi networks

Don't use for: Messages (should appear in the inbox) and Facebook comments or likes (too frequent).

Users can tap the item from the notifications list. If users receive multiple notifications from an application, these notifications are grouped together.

When a new item appears in the notification list, a splat is added to the application icon.

This screen shows an item in the notification list.

Intrusive dialog

If you have a critical event or the information is time-critical, you can display a dialog.

Use for: Incoming calls, alarms, and calendar reminders

Don't use for: Messages

Use this approach judiciously since it interrupts users and forces them to take action.

This screen shows an intrusive dialog.


A core element of BlackBerry notifications is the LED. When the LED flashes, it lets users know that something has happened.

Use for: Adding messages to the inbox, adding items to the notification list, or displaying an intrusive dialog

Don't use for: Adding a splat to the application icon

This image shows the LED flashing.

Was this information helpful? Send us your comments.