What is a "toast notification"?

  • Microsoft mentions the toast as a visual element in the package manifest for Metro-style apps with the attribute ToastCapable="true".

    What does this mean?

    This question fails the Google test...

    @Matt, maybe I could have found better search terms, but most of my results were drowned by cd burning software, or toasted bread. I thought this would be a good place to get a concise answer for a _somewhat_ obscure term. Apologies if it does not apply

    Haha I got that too Patrick but this was my first result.aspx&rct=j&q=toast%20capable&ei=Nx-CTtadEIqutwektpniAQ&usg=AFQjCNHIGTjFA2igHiD-OWSL0YOMT8DLOA&sig2=Vn41eaxoyquuyyfDtUdJdw&cad=rja), which shouldn't have far down on yours either.

    @Matt, This may be nit-picking, but that link just describes _how_ to create one, and some vague details (it's a notification, it requires a sound, you can launch an app from it) but not a complete picture of _what_ it really is. There's no clean explanation like Ben provided on that page.

    Okay, well I admit that if I had searched a bit harder, I should have found this Wikipedia article). I suppose I could delete the question, but I did find Ben's answer and comment pretty interesting.

    Hopefully the next person won't have to search so hard because this question will show up near the top of the results. It's a good question and good answer.

    Why is "the Google test" even an issue? Don't we *want* UX SE to show up on the first page of results for even trivial UX questions? That'll draw us a lot of traffic; I'd even go so far as saying it should be a goal of the site!

    I guess I see your points now about getting UX.SE to show up in Google as the first result. I was just following the logic that if you could Google it and find the answer with little to no effort, that it was not a good question because we were supposed to be providing something beyond what Google offers

    @MattRockwell The problem with most results on Google is that when someone asks a question, they get a non-Q&A site. Here I get a clear picture of the definition of a toast, a clear indication of the "correct" answer and the top voted answer, and I don't have to dig through 8 pages of a forum thread or 20 paragraphs on wikipedia to find it.

    @BenBrocka True. So where does the line get drawn then? Should we have questions like "What is a Modal Window?" etc? If so I have no problem creating them and cataloging that type of information on here if that's what we want to do.

    Honestly I wish people did stuff like that all the time, I love when I get a Stack Overflow question in search results instead of various tech forums, even if a forum thread answers the question. I've never been as clear on SE's policy on stuff like that though, since you're basically asking a question you know the answer to.

    @Rahul - I think you're missing the point of "the Google test". The point is that there's no reason to ask a question here that you could just paste into Google and already get the exact answer you are looking for. Matt is correct with his assumption - there's no reason to have questions like "What is a modal dialog?" on a SE site.

    Regardless of the Google test, isn't this a question that belongs on SO instead of here? The question is about a technical term, not a UX term.

    @CharlesBoyung it's a method of interacting with the user, it's a UX term. He found it from a technical manual, but what you call a notification is important in UX design. Just because code calls something a window doesn't mean it's not a window to us too.

    I don't find the word "toast" in the Micro$oft link.

    I think this question and answers would be improved by covering *why* it's called toast. Lots of other inedible things popup, but we don't have poptart, eggo or strudel notifications either...

    @PatrickM While an eggo notification would be nice I believe the "toast" notification is based on toasting a drink) in honor of someone/something

    @DasBeasto that's exactly why I'm here - I can't figure out if it's a toast as in toaster because it "pops up" or as in the social ritual because it's a brief announcement.

  • Ben Brocka

    Ben Brocka Correct answer

    9 years ago

    A Toast is a non modal, unobtrusive window element used to display brief, auto-expiring windows of information to a user. Android OS makes relatively heavy use of them.

    Here's an example of a Google Chrome toast notification on Mac OS X:

    enter image description here

    A list of descriptions of Toast windows on multiple platforms:

    Thanks, I had the vague notion that it was something that 'popped up' :)

    The name is sort of odd, I did a whole student-research experiment on them and one of the biggest problems was how the heck to refer to them. They were just "the notification" to users.

    Thanks for the answer Ben, I have seen this type of modal a hundred types and had no idea how to refer to it.

    @jaslr Exactly! Things need names! It bugged the heck out of me that almost no research on notifications uses this term, made searching for relevant research a pain.

    Also another point mentioned in the Android guide there is that the user doesn't interact with the notifications - they don't accept user input. Though, I've found that toasts may become a bit obtrusive when there's not much screen real estate, so I'd have them interact purely so that you can close / hide them (e.g. to see what's behind them).

    @rlsaj - This is not modal at all.

    How toast differenciates with an osx growl?

  • Luke Wroblewski in this blog post describes a use of this real time notification:

    .. and added a site-wide system of real time notifications that tell you when someone you follow on Bagcheck creates, likes or comments on something. You can see one of these notifications in action in the animated image below. A little "toast" window appears in the upper right hand corner of your screen when someone cooks up a new update.

    enter image description here

    Also worth noting from the Android Developer Guide:

    but it does not take focus (or pause the current activity), so it cannot accept user input

    Though variations now exist that CAN take user input. Intuitively [/s], they're called "snackbars"

  • I learned the term from working with Android as well. We use them all the time to provide brief notifications "Item Saved to Favorites" is a common one. I think the biggest difference from a pop-up is that they are "auto-expiring." So anything with an OK/Cancel option would not be considered a toast. As for the origin of the term it could either be a reference to it popping up like toasted bread or like a dinner party toast "Something happened..Cheers!"

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Content dated before 6/26/2020 9:53 AM