User Gesture Required for Safari 12.1 & Firefox 68

In an effort to keep you up to date on all things web push, we wanted to alert you of some minor changes coming to Safari and Firefox desktop browsers, as well as mobile Firefox browsers (also known as Fennec).

The releases of Safari 12.1 and Firefox 68 both include the requirement of a user gesture before a push notification prompt will display. You might remember this feature being released as part of the Safari Technology Preview back in September of last year.

While at first glance this might seem like bad news, don’t panic. For some of you, the update may have no impact if you use custom opt-in prompt logic. For others, even if the update does impact you, we think you will find that it will help protect you from delivering a potential bad user experience for your subscribers.

What is a User Gesture?

In case you are wondering, all that a user gesture is in this case is something like a mouse click or page scroll. Essentially, Firefox and Safari want to ensure that a user is engaging with your website in some way before deploying any permission prompts.

Like we mentioned earlier, you may already have a custom opt-in prompt set up that prevents your opt-in prompt from displaying until a user has scrolled down a certain percentage of your page, or has been at your site for a certain period of time. In these situations, this update will likely not impact you at all.

Anticipated Impacts

If you display your opt-in immediately, this update will impact your users who use either Safari or Firefox. This means that your opt-in prompt displays immediately when a user lands at your website. Now, the prompt will still display, but only once a user has completed the user gesture.

Many of you do use this logic, and it makes sense why. This setup ensures that your opt-in prompt is shown to the largest amount of people, therefore giving you the maximum number of opportunities to gain a subscriber.

However, with this setup does come the potential risk of your users denying your request because it appears too soon. After all, if a prompt displays right away, the user has not had a chance to learn anything about your brand and may not see the value of subscribing to your notifications. This can contribute to a poor user experience, something we have cautioned you all of in the past.

Final Thoughts

Here at Aimtell we think it is important to stay on top of all industry news, so that is why we are sharing these updates with you all today. In this case the update is not a major one, but one that you should be aware of. If you use our default opt-in prompt logic, don’t anticipate a drop in new subscribers. We think this update will only help you provide a better user experience for all of your users.

Safari 12.1 is live now, and Firefox 68 should release in July of this year. If you have any questions about these updates and how they relate to web push, feel free to send us a message.

As always, you can start using web push notifications for free with Aimtell, or learn more about web push by reading our Beginner’s Guide.


Tags: firefox, safari, user gesture*, web push notifications.
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