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In my web app I want to clearly tell a user what has happened while he was not there. At this time I just highlight new posts with yellow.

But if there were many changes then the whole page is highlighted, which is really irritating.

Google Wave is using a green border on the left of a post. But I'm not sure it's enough to gain the user's attention.

Do you have any suggestions or widely used solutions? Screenshots much appreciated.

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4 Answers 4

For what it's worth, Facebook is also doing the same thing with a darker left border:

Test

For me, that is way too subtle, and even when I did notice it, I had no idea what it was — I only figured it out when I inspected the element and saw the CSS class was unseenItem.

I'm not sure changing the background color is ideal either as it has the connotation of a more permanent indicator.

You want something that does not change position, or appearance too drastically (so that a refresh doesn't look completely different). I think a badge or something similar is the best approach for this. The Facebook solution is a badge of sorts, but it's too subtle and the still-dull color doesn't say "new".

If I were Facebook, I would have gone with something much more obvious, perhaps big enough to be a hover target for a help tooltip, such as dark color in a corner on the left or right side (both included for comparison):

enter image description here

It's not quite the same concept, but I have used a corner wrap on an image to indicate new items on a customer's store (in this case, new is exciting, not just informational):

enter image description here

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I like your corner wrap idea –  Divi Mar 10 '11 at 2:48

First, you can add an indication of the number of new items up where it says Лента - exactly like StackExchange indicates the number of items in your inbox (or any other social network or email website/app - basically anything with an inbox). Then, you can also indicate it with a small but noticeable tag on the new item itself. Something like this:

enter image description here

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Further to Vitaly's answer, changing the background (even if it's ever so slight) of the new items is also quite effective.

Microsoft use it in the Start Menu (assuming you have the "Highlight newly installed programs" option checked).

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I like to use tags in one of the corners and if you have a tag image which says new then great because that eliminates any guesses needed as to what it means. Changing the colour can be effective as well but it should be subtle so that it remains consistent with the other posts

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