KDE Visual Design Group/HIG/Notifications

back to Human Interface Guidelines


A notification is an information that is not directly relevant to the user's current task. It is displayed via a certain notification mechanism on a panel above/below the taskbar notification area. Notifications inform users about non-critical problems, but they don't prevent them.

Notifications pop up and overlay all other windows. Multiple notifications are stacked vertically. Notifications disappear after a short period automatically (unless the cursor hovers over them), but can be closed by the user at any point. Each notification has its own central configuration which can be reached by a button next to the close button.


(remark: pictures only?)


  • Email received
  • New update available
  • Download completed
  • Low battery power

todo: picture


  • Low space on medium (this information becomes relevant for file managers and invoked as modal message in this case)

todo: picture


  • Do not use notifications for user assistance (consider to use tool-tips or balloons for short information, or refer to help system for extended text.
  • Do not use notifications for context relevant information that might interfere with the actual workflow (consider to use a message dialog.
  • Do not add controls to notification. Thomas: I would remove this. Adding action buttons is allowed in the API and has reasonable use cases, other controls simply cannot be added technically)
  • Do not override system settings. (remark: more specific) Thomas: Which settings do you mean here?
  • Provide title and content text (remark: not precise enough) Thomas: guidelines regarding the wording of title and content are indeed very important. Maybe celeste can help here.
  • Make sure to make the origin of the notification clear from the notification title. For instance: "Amarok: Now playing" or "Konsole: Event"
  • Keep the notification content concise (no more than about three simple sentences).
  • Customize notification with the origin's icon. Heiko: (remark: word "origin" needs to be replaced; "icon" might be replaced by technical term)
  • Provide actionable information (e.g. "Low battery power" "Only 13 min (2%) capacity remaining. Please save your stuff now. Your system will get shut down soon.") Heiko: (remark: should be according actual text)
  • Heiko: to be defined: Are all notifications configured in KCM? If not, how to separate?

Code snippets

to be done

Content is available under Creative Commons License SA 4.0 unless otherwise noted.