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HomeGuidelines > 3. Cook up hot links. > 3j. Announce the new with special links.

 

Diagram

Background

Audience Fit

Challenge

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3j. Announce the new with special links.

  • On pages that do not change very often, identify the new.

  • Whenever content is updated, point out what has changed.
  • If your audiences might use it, include a What’s New section.
  • Update pages frequently. (If possible, import live data from feeds, or databases. Check prices daily. Check statistics every month. Check marketing material every season.)
  • Discard pages on a regular basis. (Identify the removal date when publishing).

 

Diagram

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Background

On slowly changing pages, mark new items with a little "new" glyph.
Nielsen (1999d)

Keep users up to date on content changes. When appropriate and practical, tell users what content you changed, and when you changed it. This information will help them find new material easily. You may want to provide a What’s New section that is easily accessible from the page, or link directly to the new material from your home page. You may also want to indicate new content on a particular page with graphical cues. —IBM (1999)

The Web is a fluid medium. Update pages as time goes by to reflect all changes. Statistics, numbers, and examples all need to be recent or credibility suffers. —Sun (2000)

Boldly promote your most exciting content with size, color, animation, and/or screen position. Minimize less important content. ….

Let people know what is coming soon on your site. They may not be able to get to this week’s issue, but a good teaser might convince them to visit before missing next week’s update. Emphasize that sites are frequent and timely by referring to important dates and date-stamping….

Microsoft (2000)

See bibliography: IBM (1999), Microsoft (2000), Nielsen (1999d), Sun (2000)

Other ways to make links hot

3a. Make clear what the user will get from the link.

3b. Within a sentence, make the link the emphatic element.

3c. Shift focus from the links or linked-to documents to the subject.

3d. Provide depth and breadth through plentiful links to related information within your site.

3e. Establish credibility by offering outbound links.

3f. Make meta information public.

3g. Write URLs that humans can read.

3h. Make links accessible.

3i. Tell people about a media object before they download.

3k. Write meta-tags to have your pages found.

 

Audience Fit
 
If visitors want... How well does this guideline apply?
To have fun On the Web, the new is synonymous with fun.
To learn Learners may not care what's new, unless it's a new course, or a discount.
To act Newness impels clicking.
To be aware The "new" labels just help folks understand what has changed on the site, which is convenient for people who are already paying more attention to their internal state than the site itself.
To get close to people If what's new is relevant, you appeal to them; if not, you may not make them feel any tighter with you than before.

Ready for some challenges?

Resources on writing links

Taking a Position on Links

Heuristic Online Text (HOT) Evaluation for Links

Poster

 

 

 

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