There's another option, however, and it comes in the form of a notification light that's disabled by default. After enabling the feature, you can glance at the front of your phone and quickly see if you have any pending notifications. I haven't figured out the rhyme or reason for notification colors, but have seen the light blink red and white.
To enable the notification light, open the Settings app then go to Notifications. Next, tap on the Settings cog at the top of the screen, then slide the switch next to Pulse notification light to the On position. Close out settings, and wait for a new notification to view your handiwork.