Ah well! I am not talking about the book ‘The New New thing’, but about Indiatimes’ homepage which is full of ‘New, New’ thing.
Have a look at the screenshot below
Why the ‘New New’ text?
Well, the new superscript does improve CTRs (clickthroughs), as it attracts user attention; and that’s why many portals are tempted to use that as a bait to divert user to other products/features.
As far as Indiatimes is concerned, most of these are one year old products and do not classify to be termed ‘new’. (Hotklix was launched around August, 2008, Itimes a year back, i.e. April 2008)
Why only ‘New’ should be ‘New’.
So, if you do not have anything new to show, should you really show the ‘new’ superscript? Desperate management will say yes, but a smart product owner should say NO.
And Indiatimes’ website is just an example – I have seen many other portals doing the same, i.e. not following any discipline/rules regarding the usage of ‘New’ superscript.
Look at it this way, your regular visitor will stop giving any attention to the ‘new’ superscript – after all, he/she knows your definition of ‘new’ is somewhat ‘old’. So, if you launch a new feature, you will have to spend money (via ads/using site’s real estate) to tell the user about your new feature.
New visitors (not so regular) are the ones who actually click on these links. And if at all, they become regular user, they will again go back to the previous point.
So who does it help? Management in the short run (they meet some traffic numbers).
Who does it hurt? Product as well as Brand.
What’s the Ideal Thing to do?
Follow a discipline – keep the ‘New’ superscript on the site only for a month. Not a day more or a minute less.
Track CTRs, user activity and figure out the next steps. Also, try to rotate the link somewhere else on the site, in order to increase the CTR.
But, do not play with customer experience.
What’s your opinion?