The lack of badges is intentional. Personally I find badges anxiety-inducing since they make me feel like I need to do something. We want Cake to make people happy, not anxious. 😄
I like getting a push notification when someone reacts or replies to me on Cake, but if it also added a badge to the icon then I'd feel like I have to go do something to make the badge disappear, and that feels like a chore.
But obviously not everyone feels this way! Anyone else like badges? Should we add them?
Android user here, but the systems are similar enough to talk about this in general:
I think this should be left for the user to decide. Modern Android versions come with app settings that allow users to
- disable/enable notifications from an app completely
- disable them on a "per category" basis; categories (or channels internally) are used for different types of notifications, for example Cake could have one channel for "reply to your post" notifications and another for "reaction" notifications, and the user can easily choose to see one but not the other
- if notifications are enabled, allow or disallow a "notification dot" (Android's variant of a badge)
This can either be used as-is, or used as a model for own in-app settings. For me personally, badges have some smell of "open task that I need to finish", but what's more anxiety-inducing than that is the fear of missing out on some important interaction, either because of swiping away the notification or by not being notified in the first place.
It is great that you have user "well-being" in mind while designing your notifications. It's just that different users feel well in different situations, which might include seeing badges/dots.
What I'd like to see is a "digest" type of notification that is pushed to me not instantly when something happens, but once per day at 6pm, if something happened in the last 24 hours.