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I'm adding a new feature to my business website, and I'd like to let users know about it. It's kind of hidden in a menu (Finite Math -> Practice) right now, and I'm trying to figure out the best way to let people know that it's there.

The way I see it, my options include:

  • Promoting the "practice" section to one of the top-level menus. The only problem is that eventually I'd like to have "practice" for multiple courses, so if I do that I'd probably need to split off a top-level "practice" page that then links to individual courses.

  • Using a sash.

  • Splitting the entire site into two sections, with the front page giving visitors two options ("I want to work on practice problems" and "I want to get a tutor"). The problem with this is that it'd move my main call-to-action (submitting a request for a tutor) away from the front page, making it more work for paying customers.

What is the best way to balance letting casual visitors know about this really useful free feature, while at the same time making it super-easy for paying customers to submit a request?

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You should not re-organize your site, just for promoting a specific feature. The information architecture of your site is a long-term objective, while the promotion is a very short-term.

I recommend adding redundant elements for a limited period of time, to promote the new feature. I like the sash you are considering, you could also add links on the home page, or any other related page. Design links to attract attention (e.g. use bold, large typeface, color, white space).

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    Well, the problem is that our site isn't the type of site that people will use regularly over a period of years. So, I can't really count on visitors to acclimate to the way I have it organized, because my audience changes significantly every semester. In other words: it might need to be a "permanent promotion". – alexw Sep 8 '14 at 16:17
  • So maybe the solution is not to highlight a new feature, but to improve the information architecture of your site. – DesignerAnalyst Sep 8 '14 at 17:59
  • Yeah so that brings us to options 1 and 3. Unless, any other suggestions? – alexw Sep 8 '14 at 18:43
  • No, but I prefer option 1. You may use a drop down menu instead of a top-level "practice" page. You may also replace "NEW: Free practice ..." with the drop down menu. – DesignerAnalyst Sep 9 '14 at 13:31
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I don't see a problem with what you have now. "Free practice questions from real exams" catches the eye quite well, but it doesn't detract from the main service you are offering.

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