Notification Dots are little bubbles that appear on the upper right corner of the app’s icon when you have an unread notification. If you long-press the icon, the notification appears just above the app icon. Google’s VP of Engineering for Android, Dave Burke, demos Notification Dots at the Google I/O 2017 Day 1 Keynote. Source: Google I/O’17: Google Keynote on YouTube.
That means you’ll now have two ways to read and dismiss your push notifications: in the top tray we’ve all come to know and love, or above the app’s icon.
This new twist on alerting users (and as a result, re-engaging them in apps) is interesting to juxtapose alongside Android Instant Apps: while Notification Dots call our attention to apps as their own atomic entities, Instant Apps do the opposite, practically blending app functionality into the overall smartphone user experience.
What to make these two, seemingly disparate, approaches? While Instant Apps make app functionality more ambient and findable, don’t bet on apps disappearing from the mobile user experience anytime soon. They’re still an important part of users’ mental models for mobile engagement—and they will be for years to come.