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Inspiration
The new icon in Alterra resort nav bars is brilliant.

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GREGG
BLANCHARD
       

Let’s not beat around the bush, shall we? Alterra is doing something really clever and I want to jump right in.

The idea is an alert icon that sits in the top nav bar of the original Intrawest resort websites. Steven Hubert and co. have a solid track-record of identifying marketing trends very early and then building ideas on top of those trends, and this is no exception.

Alerts are powerful things.

How it Works
As far as I can tell, there are three states under which the alert icon will load.

1) No Alerts
The first is when there are no unread alerts to show. In this case, the icon looks like a normal icon like we see on Steamboat’s website:

2) Unread Alerts, Closed Tray
The second is when there are unread alerts to show. In this case, the icon is highlighted in an on-brand color:

Click that alert icon and a tray slides down holding those bits of info:

Click the icon again (or reload the page) and it will show the number of items, but not highlighted:

3) Unread Alerts, Open Tray
The third state is one where that tray will actually open on page load like it did with Winter Park:

Again, I think this is brilliant partly because alerts living on marketing websites have become much more ubiquitous through things like live chat boxes.

But my affinity for this idea is even simpler than that. Marketing alerts? They work.

Does it Work?
I know this because a few months ago I stumbled onto a tool called AnnounceKit.

Beautifully designed and well thought out, AnnounceKit allowed you to add an number bubble on your website with one line of javascript, add recent news and updates via a simple admin interface, and track how many people opened, read, and clicked on those alerts.

Even with no icon to give the number context, tests I ran on my own websites showed that more than 2% of all website visitors clicked on that icon when there was new content to show. Compared to other preeminent links, that was a really impressive number.

So I added things like:

  • Recent blog posts
  • News and announcements
  • Offers and deals
  • New features or releases

And suddenly, without redesigning a single thing, I was giving my latest and most important content a fresh boost in visibility.

I think Alterra’s custom execution on this idea is always going to yield better results and a more seamless integration with the CMS, but if you’re curious about this concept and not ready to commit the resources to go big on it, maybe it’s worth doing a 1-2 week test with AnnounceKit and seeing how it goes. Chances are, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.


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