Text works but a gif sometimes can be more inspiring and explain things visually better.
Any idea if it is possible to display a gif /image inside the shortcuts area?
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You can show custom icons, see: How to implement custom icons for my script/addon?
However you can't show large images in this space.
Blender does not include support for reading gifs.
2.75 added the ability for addons to access image previews and use them as icons in the layout. You can find two example templates within blenders text editor ui_previews_custom_icon.py and ui_previews_dynamic_enum.py showing how to use them.
See: Text Editor > Templates > Python > UI Previews Custom Icon / UI Previews Dynamic Enum: