About 23 years ago, I deployed a character based pawnshop management application for MS-DOS 6.22 and Altos Xenix-V platforms.

All my forms use high contrast with a black background. In the pawn transactions form, I display the number of days that have elapsed since the customer pawned their items, or made their last interest payment.

If the number of elapsed days is less than or equal to 80, I display the number in green color. 81 to 89 days in orange, and 90 or more days in red with fast blinking animation.

The conditional blinking attribute in the legacy application is easily programmed with only one line of 4GL code:

COLOR = red blink WHERE CalcExpDays >= 90

MS-DOS and Xenix video drivers support blinking, underline, reverse and invisible video attributes via a system call, but blinking is difficult to implement in Windows and Linux GUI forms, requiring the use of a timer to generate a blinking animation.


Blink elements are not so used because they doesnt grant accessibility and could also produce problems to people with cognitive disorders.

Wikipedia provide a short, but interesting, history about blink element. From that source two anecdotes:

A 1982 Apple Computer manual for developers advised against using blinking text, warning that "flashing [text] should only be used to indicate imminent destruction of data or the program".

In the article "Original Top 10 Mistakes in Web Design" by Jakob Nielsen, html tag <blink> (deprecated) is defined "simply evil".

If you are nostalgic of blink element, you'll enjoy Google's blink easter egg

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    I dont use blinking for long text, only for displaying the 90+ days field, as this quickly captures the users attention when scrolling through records, versus using a steady red color. The blink rate is every quarter second which makes it easy to read. Wikipedia's blinking element content surprises me. – Frank R. May 18 '17 at 22:06
  • @FrankR. I think it's better to avoid it in general, but in special cases it is not a big problem if used with caution.. – WalterV May 22 '17 at 22:50

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