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Once upon a time, somebody introduced blinking "new" GIFs to highlight something new on a website, and it has been an eyesore and a distraction ever since.

Is there a more elegant way to draw attention to a new link rather than using animated GIFs?

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  • 1
    How do you define "new"? When new content is not new any more for the user? After it has been popped-out once? After user clicked it? After an arbitrary amount of time (regardless how many times user saw it, or not)? Until there is something newer? All around you see different solutions according to the answer you pick for these questions. Sep 6, 2017 at 13:02
  • 1
    "...it has been an eyesore and a distraction ever since..." This is not common anymore for ages. Examples of alternatives are everywhere. Also read about information architecture, it will be what you're really looking for.
    – jazZRo
    Sep 6, 2017 at 15:28
  • That government website you linked to appears to be stuck in some sort of parallel dimension where it is still 1997. Sep 6, 2017 at 19:13
  • @Roddy: It feels more trustable though, almost like it was made by the scientists themselves and not gone through layers of PR.
    – user1686
    Sep 7, 2017 at 5:46
  • @RoddyoftheFrozenPeas don't tell me that all those <BODY background="backgr.jpg"><CENTER> and <FONT...><a...> don't make you smile and feel nostalgic!!! Sep 7, 2017 at 7:45

3 Answers 3

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If your application allows for it, I'd recommend branching out from standard text links. Your question doesn't specify the link use case, so I will give examples across some common uses. Consider the following alternatives:

Badges

If you have a new link within an existing UI element (such as a top menu), a simple badge gives a visual indication something is new. Make sure to get rid of it after the user has looked at it.

mockup

download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

Buttons

Advertising (especially on mobile) has increasingly used buttons to increase clicks. Buttons draw attention using color and space, as well as intuitively feeling more natural to click than text.

mockup

download bmml source

Encapsulated Images

If you need to draw attention to a product, website feature, or another visual-based destination, encapsulate an image with a button.

mockup

download bmml source

(Tasteful) Banners

If you have an important new announcement, site feature update, or other significant item that needs traffic, consider a banner. Make sure to allow the user to close it, and keep it hidden from future visits.

mockup

download bmml source

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If you want your users to look at a new link first, think of adding contrast to the new link. Here are a few examples how you can do it -

enter image description here

More here Control the User’s Focus and Attention**

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  • The danger of having one link which looks different to all of the others is that it will trigger mental ad detection heuristics and cause people to deliberately ignore it. Sep 7, 2017 at 7:43
  • @PeterTaylor The purpose here is to drag attention which helps when you use contrast. When it is a link with a few characters; users won't ignore it considering Ad, because Ads come in specific size and format. Their brain is trained to ignore those sizes and formats, but not everything that is in different contrast.
    – Dipak
    Sep 7, 2017 at 8:12
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If your design is prioritised correctly then good or new content can 'bubble' to the top without the need for any flashy signs, graphics or pop-overs.

It's important to remember, the content may be new, however it may be completely uninteresting to the the reader or at least not what they are looking for. Bringing new and interesting content into the eyeline is good practise, forcing it down peoples throats - not so much.

https://www.nngroup.com/articles/prioritize-good-content-bubbles-to-the-top/

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