Alerting users to news items

Subject: Alerting users to news items
From: julie -dot- harrison -at- holset -dot- com
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Thu, 30 Mar 2006 09:38:01 +0000

Hi everyone,

We have a web application used internally, and we created a news area to
inform users of changes to the system, scheduled downtime, new features,
improved help, etc.
Previously we emailed everyone, but received complaints such as "I get
loads of email everyday, how am I expected to read it all", and as we are a
large organisation maintaining the list was a nightmare too.

So we have a login page on the intranet now, there's not much on it, login,
news and 3 links, 1 for help, 1 forgotten password and 1 to contact us.
I thought we'd done well, we've included a search for the news, the date is
big and bold, the text is short and sweet with links if they want to read

We've just received moans and groans that people aren't reading it, it's
too hard to remember to check to see if it's changed, apparently.

Now we're trying to find ways of ensuring users read the news, or are at
least alerted to it. (someone suggested a wet fish popping out of the
screen, but the boss said no, shame)

Ideas so far:

1. Have the date 'blink' for the first 3 days that the news item is new.
2. Have the news item as a popup, so the user has to click 'I've read it'.
3. Dancing penguins, or some other alert for a new item.
4. Change the colour for each item.

We're having a bit of a brainstorm next week, so I'd be interested in any
ideas any of you may have.
Have any of you come across similar problems.

Thanks in advance

Julie :-)
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