Yet Another Yahoo! Home Page Redesign

Jared Spool

May 16th, 2006

Hold on to your chairs, kids! It’s about to happen again. The venerable Yahoo! is about to change its home page — yet one more time!

Here’s what the page looks like today:

Click to see the current Yahoo! home page
Click to see the current Yahoo! home page

Here’s what Yahoo! is now previewing as their next home page:

Click to see the newest Yahoo! home page
Click to see the newest Yahoo! home page

Of course, Yahoo! has a history of making changes to home pages. Most of you probably don’t remember what it looked like in 1996:

Click to see the 1996 Yahoo! home page
Click to see the 1996 Yahoo! home page

Or even what it looked like in 2000:

Click to see the 2000 Yahoo! home page
Click to see the 2000 Yahoo! home page

You might remember 2003:

Click to see the 2003 Yahoo! home page
Click to see the 2003 Yahoo! home page

Yahoo! changes their home page a lot. Each time, they make it a little better for users to get to the content they want. This new home page uses a lot of AJAX and fancy display techniques. Try it by moving your mouse over the “Weather” box.

One of the interesting things about this new page is it’s just this page. Their existing pages of Yahoo! Mail, Yahoo! Finance, and Yahoo! Movies seem to remain unchanged. This isn’t a site relaunch. It’s just a change of the home page design.

That’s because Yahoo! knows that the major site relaunch is dead. (Notice Yahoo! is borrowing from eBay’s playbook by letting users try the home page on their own terms and giving them the option to switch back:

Example of Switch to old page link

So, here we go again. One more change. I guess they’ll keep doing it until they get it right!

Update: Bill Scott has posted an interesting description of the new features of the home page here.

9 Responses to “Yet Another Yahoo! Home Page Redesign”

  1. Los textos de qweos.net» Blog Archive » Yahoo! Home Page Says:

    [...] Actualización de 17 de mayo de 2006: Jared Spool también lo comenta y, además, ofrece algunas capturas con la evolución de la interfaz desde 1996. [...]

  2. Daniel Szuc Says:

    Interesting read:

    http://www.technologyreview.com/read_article.aspx?id=16883&ch=infotech

    “On the Internet, 20 months is an eternity” – Doe user behaviour change much in that time?

  3. Moe Rubenzahl Says:

    Anyone else disturbed by the number of areas one can click? For instance, when the article suggested I try their Ajax goodies “by moving your mouse over the “Weather” box,” I tried — What Weather box? Took a while to troll the half-dozen control areas. Horizontal, vertical, tabs, button groups — wow!

    I don’t have trouble with lots of links and buttons but think they need to be well organized and groupings need to reasoned out.

    My two cents…

  4. Lar Veale Says:

    Not sure if the “internet’s most trafficked page” is the place for AJAX.

  5. Jared Spool Says:

    Lar, I’d be curious as to why you think AJAX is a bad idea for a highly trafficked page?

  6. Lar Veale Says:

    Hi Jared,

    Thanks for taking the time to respond. I’ve a number of concerns with AJAX on the Yahoo homepage, which I’ll touch on briefly. Let’s take the “Personal Assistant” area over at the top right of the screen (mail, messenger, weather etc.) Hovering over a tab only to be met with “Loading….” is, in my opinion, no improvement of the user experience.
    Why? After the initial action, i.e. the mouse over or hover, you have to keep the cursor on target while. If you stray too far, the preview closes back up.

    In terms of dexterity, it’s actually tougher to do than the conventional aim and click, particularly if there’s a wait while it loads up. So perhaps my concerns are really about accessibility at the end of the day, the visitor who uses a keyboard or the visitor who is not as precise with their mouse is not given the “same” experience (I do accept the argument that offering the same experience to visitors of differing abilities can be idealistic).

    Bruce Lawson sums accessibility and AJAX issues on his blog – worth a read.

    The aim of Yahoo’s redesign is, according to Scott, to get “a lot more content to be easily accessible”, but for whom? They’re trying to get a lot more content into the limited screen estate because over the last couple of years (as your excellent screenshots show) their homepage has become increasingly crowded. I would speculate, as with most homepages, that it is political. It may appease internal owners of different parts of the site that their content is now above the fold, albeit behind a tab. So politically, content is up “high” on the homepage (in terms of visual priority), so the “politicians” are happy.

    And, of course, another issue is that the back button is “broken”, a much touted problem with AJAX.

  7. UIE Brain Sparks » Blog Archive » Borrowing from Yahoo!’s New Home Page Tour To Annotate Design Says:

    [...] Yahoo! just launched their new home page and with it created a tour. [...]

  8. » Yahoo’s new homepage - iQ Blog Says:

    [...] have redesigned their homepage (not the entire site) – see it at yahoo.com/preview. Jared Spool mentions it over on Brain Sparks but doesn’t draw any conclusions apart from saying the new “home page uses a lot of [...]

  9. » Responding to Jared Spool on AJAX - iQ Blog Says:

    [...] Spool, usability expert, asked me what my concerns with AJAX were on his blog. I’ll discuss some of them [...]

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