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I'd like to inform users of new features that are happening in our web portal. This feature is not applicable to all users but may be useful to others; nonetheless we'd like to raise awareness that it's available. The feature is hidden under our navigation so it is not incredibly discoverable so we'd like to surface this when the user arrives to the portal.

We'd like to use a call-out that would be shown at the top right of the screen. We have given the option for the user to dismiss the message using the 'X' but several question:

  1. Multiple administrators with different accounts can access this portal. If admin A dismisses the message, should it still be shown to admin B? My assumption here would be yes as it is exposed to a different user, but is there reason it shouldn't?

  2. If the user never dismisses the call-out, how long should such message be shown the user? What expiration should it have? When is a feature no longer considered 'new?'

  3. When is it too frequent too launch these messages? We may anticipate having new features show-up weekly in the portal, but this becomes annoying and overwhelming have to dismiss a message like this often. Is it appropriate to limit the message to a monthly cadence yet still have the new feature in the portal prior to the announcement?

  4. Is there better approach to tell users about new features rather than a call-out as shown below?

mockup

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marked as duplicate by Mervin Johnsingh, Code Maverick, Charles Wesley, Joshua Barron, Evil Closet Monkey Mar 31 '14 at 19:13

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I believe a call-out near the place where its implemented is the best method to show new features in your web application.

Answering your questions one by one.

Multiple administrators with different accounts can access this portal. If admin A dismisses the message, should it still be shown to admin B? My assumption here would be yes as it is exposed to a different user, but is there reason it shouldn't?

No, there's no reason why you shouldn't do it. They're different users therefore you must display the walk through to both users. Whether they're in the same organization or sitting next to each other is not something we're going to look into. But if there is a scenario where the same user has two accounts (joint) displaying it only once will be enough. But I think this is a very rare case.

If the user never dismisses the call-out, how long should such message be shown the user? What expiration should it have? When is a feature no longer considered 'new?'

Rather than just setting a time period for the expiration set it to the number of logins as well. For example -

  • Case 1: If the user doesn't log in for a x period of time keep the new feature call-outs till new features are introduced.
  • Case 2: If the user logs in more than 5 times a day and doesn't dismiss the call-outs. Stop showing them.

When is it too frequent too launch these messages? We may anticipate having new features show-up weekly in the portal, but this becomes annoying and overwhelming have to dismiss a message like this often. Is it appropriate to limit the message to a monthly cadence yet still have the new feature in the portal prior to the announcement?

No, avoid frequent updates. I personally find it very annoying to read and click through these updates. So if you're planning to add new features to your site, try grouping them together into one release and set a time period of about once a month. Also if the new features are not making drastic change to how the users were using it before and its something they can learn while working you don't have to use call-outs.

Is there better approach to tell users about new features rather than a call-out as shown below?

I found the most effective way to show new features is to display call outs right near where the change has happened. (For example - A call out pointing to the new button with a small description as to what it does.)

If you're introducing big changes which you think your users will be hugely interested, maintain a new updates page in your site.

  • This is all very helpful. Your guidance about the expiration on notifications is particularly useful. Thank you. – Tingster Mar 31 '14 at 9:35
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I find podio.com new features communication mechanism the best. User is informed about new features through messages displaying on the translucent layer next to the feature. If there are more than one feature user could go through all messages or dismiss on the first.

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  • I love this idea of a 'next' feature. Thanks for the suggestion! – Tingster Mar 31 '14 at 9:28
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If you have the users email addresses, I would suggest an eDM. A nice looking email from the community they're involved with saying "Hey, we have a great new feature for you. It'll help you with x, y & z! Check it out today."

Otherwise, an extra full width menu-like bar in a bold, contrasting colour. Not red, as this is more of a error or warning. Perhaps it only appears when the relevant user logs in, and has an x to close and a link through for more information. If they follow the link through, the module no longer appears. If they x it, it appears for the next two log ins (total of 3).

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