Interactive Notifications

Interactive Notifications are push notifications that include buttons for secondary, complementary actions, allowing users to interact with notifications from outside of the app. They can drive the user to:

  • Take immediate, specific action
  • Make decisions or choices
  • Express preferences

Interactive Notifications are supported by iOS, Android, and Amazon.

Related Workflows

  • Message
  • Automation
  • A/B Test

See: Message and Workflow Types.

Interactive Notification Types

Built-in Interactive Notifications

Urban Airship has pre-defined 30+ Interactive Notification types to match the most common use cases that we have identified. Our SDK also includes translations for these buttons in several languages. In addition to text-based interactive notification types, Urban Airship also provides Emoji buttons. Use emojis to track user sentiment on a certain story or offer. Learn more in our iOS and Android/Amazon documentation.

Custom Interactions

iOS, Android, and Amazon support custom interactions. See the Custom Notification Buttons Tutorial, and the iOS and Android/Amazon documentation for technical details about implementing custom interactions.

Pathways and Attributes

Interactive notifications create up to three distinct action pathways per push, when the user taps the notification and each additional button.

Each pathway can take advantage of Urban Airship's actions framework:

Each Interactive Notification has the following attributes, with maximum of two buttons per notification:

  • Display Name: The plain text name displayed in the dashboard.
  • Type: The alphanumeric identifier passed to the device via push. This is the APNs "category" that triggers the correct interactive notification to be displayed.
  • Description The text description displayed in the dashboard.
  • Per button attributes:

    • Label: Text field. For UI preview only, not passed via push. Button labels are hard-coded in the mobile app.
    • Foreground: Boolean. If true, the button has a foreground action, meaning it opens directly into the app or another destination. If false, it runs a background action, meaning it executes some code behind the scenes, and the notification simply disappears
    • Destructive: For UI preview only, not passed via push. Destructive buttons appear red on the device.

Interaction Strategy: Think Ahead!

An Interactive Notification must exist as a predefined type (or "category" in iOS), which defines the number of associated buttons and their characteristics. This type must be coded in the application build before being deployed to the App Store so that a user's app will be aware of the pathways for the interaction.

Practically speaking, this means that you must know which buttons to present and which labels they must have before preparing your app update.

Think through your use cases carefully before assigning the Interactive Notification type in your app update. If you want a custom action to occur, e.g., "Call Your Mother!," you must register the custom type in the project beforehand.

You may use any of the predefined common interactions or create a custom one. See iOS: Interactive Notifications for examples.

Configuration and Requirements

Interactive notifications require the SDK 5.0 or later. If you are using an earlier SDK, see our iOS and Android migration guides.

Once your app is on a supported version of the SDK, you can use either the API or the dashboard to send an Interactive Notification.

To use Interactive Notifications in the dashboard, the feature must be enabled in your project. Navigate to Settings » Configuration » Composer. Set the toggle for Notification Buttons to ON.

By default, new projects have Notification Buttons enabled.