What’s new/different with toast notifications and action center in Windows 10

Previously in desktop Windows 8 and Windows 8.1, a toast notification was a transient message – a toast notification would disappear and become none-retrievable once it is missed or ignored by the user.

In Windows 10, toast notifications have evolved visually and functionally. The definition and behavior of toast notifications have evolved alone with the changes in the Windows shell. A toast notification is still a message that acts like an invitation that invites the user back to the in-app experience, but it is now capable of doing more things.

For existing Windows store app designers and developers, here is a list of things a toast now does or behaves differently from before.

Action center on all Windows devices

  • Universal action center - Once a toast notification is ignored or temporarily dismissed by the user, it will go into a system area called action center. Action center used to be a phone feature, but now both desktop and mobile have action center. Below shows action center on desktop.

New functionalities on toast notification behavior and layout

  • Expanding toast on Mobile - For mobile devices, toast notifications (even existing ones) will be displayed in a collapsed/condensed mode, but are able to be expanded if there is more content or actions in the toast to show. Below shows an example of a toast notification in collapsed and expanded modes.
  • More types of activations through actions - A toast can not only invite users back to your app, but also include custom actions to run a background task or launch into other apps – find out more information on the different activation types in this blog post – Adaptive and interactive toast notifications for Windows 10.
  • No more ToastCapable - All UWP apps are capable of sending toast notifications, without the need to declare any capability in the app’s manifest file anymore.

Toasts and tiles can now get in sync!

  • In Windows 10, we added the ability for an app to be notified when the app’s collection of notifications is changed in any way that’s not caused by the app’s local client. For example, by subscribing to a trigger, you will be notified when the user removes notification from action center, when notifications are expired, and when a WNS push toast is delivered to the client. In this way, the developer is able to do whatever based on these events, but the most obvious scenario would be keeping the app’s badge and tile content in sync after user removes toasts from action center. For more details on how to use this feature, please head to this blog post – Quickstart: Sending a local toast notification and handling activations from it (Windows 10), and look for ToastNotificationHistoryChangedTrigger.

Notification Settings

  • New setting behavior - In Windows 10, only after an app sends a first toast notification, will it be added to the Notifications & Actions section of System Settings, from which the user can disable or enable toast notifications for your app at any time.

Comments (3)
  1. shar says:

    This is cool! Why don't the toasts use the default color specified in the app like they did in WIn8.1? Why are they black?

  2. leixu2046 says:

    @shar, thanks for reaching out! This design decision was made mainly to keep the view of Action Center clean and easy to triage, with a list of notifications that have subtle and dark background color instead of a mixed group of many colors. This design can potentially be revisited in our coming releases based on user and developer feedback, but for now they will not show the app's accent color.

  3. HeyAdmin says:

    We use SCCM to deploy software updates. When we were using Windows 7, balloon notifications and associated systray icons about upcoming installation deadlines and restarts were very conspicuous. Toast notifications are much less conspicuous and have caused a little confusion for end users. For instance, balloons wouldn’t disappear until acknowledged. Even if a balloon appeared while the user’s desktop was locked, it would still be there when the unlocked. I like the sleek, modern appearance of toasts, but they still need to serve the purpose for which they were intended. Even if I set the duration to 5 minutes, if the user’s desktop is locked when the toast appears, and the user doesn’t return until 10 minutes later, the notification is useless. I hate to revert to showing all notifications as balloons, but I may have not choice if I can’t make toasts behave the same way as balloons used to.

Comments are closed.

Skip to main content