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June 11th, 2002

Yahoo!’s New Look

Yahoo! hasn’t changed much since 1995. It’s always had a pretty plain, minimalist, librarian-friendly design. In recent years, though, as they packed more and more crap onto the page, moving beyond just links to their formerly-useful directory, it got to be headache-inducing. Soon, they will debut their new look which, undeniably, is cleaner and better organized. Unfortunately, it’s designed with advertising as a focus, which means that the “Marketplace” section (read: “Useless Ads” section) will no longer just be affiliate text links, but emphasized text with a graphic. From the looks of it, certain partners will also get high billing.

While I don’t mind the new look all that much (it’s really not that much of a departure), what annoys me is that Yahoo!’s core, their directory, is placed way below other portal links, below partner information, below news headlines, and below “My Yahoo!” information. It’s actually under the fold on many screens. I guess it shows what Yahoo!’s main business is now: trying to make money by playing catch-up rather than innovating and providing useful, original content, like they used to.

Posted in Television, Movies, and Music

FROM: Chris [E-Mail]
DATE: Tuesday June 11, 2002 -- 9:31:54 am
Netscape called, they want their tabs back :)

Seriously, I wonder how much time, energy, and money went into making Yahoo look just like every other "portal" out there.

FROM: Robert [E-Mail]
DATE: Tuesday June 11, 2002 -- 9:46:16 am

FROM: Paul [E-Mail]
DATE: Tuesday June 11, 2002 -- 9:46:58 am
Well, if you compare the old design to the new one, they aren't that radically different. I haven't used Yahoo! in ages, but the big World Cup ad is prominent on both designs.

I do prefer the new one, though, because it feels cleaner. And, the Yahoo! logo and icons are finally anti-aliased.

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Tuesday June 11, 2002 -- 11:28:17 am
For reference: Yahoo! in 1996.

FROM: Scott [E-Mail]
DATE: Tuesday June 11, 2002 -- 12:53:00 pm
Well, I've traditionally used Yahoo as my launch page for many years now. I don't quite know why, I guess it's just because it generally loads quickly, has search tools right there and gives me a few headlines of note. Then again, for searches I use Google more often now anyways, and it's homepage is extremely minimalistic which I like. Ahhhh well, I know I'll use both anyhow. The new Yahoo design is ok, but not enough of a departure from their current one to warrant being bothered to change it.

FROM: Marcus Mackey
DATE: Saturday June 15, 2002 -- 3:54:55 pm
I've not liked Yahoo for a lonnnnnnnnnnnnng time, simply because as web standards seemed to advance, the more archaic and pathetic it looked. Toss in that the amount of sheer content turned it from a useful and logical breakdown (I think I used it back in like... 1995) into something along the lines of a massive overkill of information shoved right in your face.

To me a portal should be elegant, and simplified enough in content that the information is discernable (think about how people process information at first glance, it's a case of K.I.S.S. and Yahoo is far from that). Yeah, shove the info. in my face, but... make it so you don't succumb to "information overload" on behalf of your client-side end-user. Yahoo beats you to death with the default font syndrome (f'ugly), with age-old HTML techniques (and design ideas, sadly as a result), and the site still remains aghast in Netscape 4.7 (considering how basic Yahoo is, it should work in 4.7 without a hitch) because some dolt "STILL" hasn't figured out that you need to specify the color tag for Netscape 4.x (whoever it is though, figured it out on subsequent pages... go figure, eh?) to render with a white background. Granted, Netscape 6/7 both do this properly... but if you're going to bother to do this on every other modern page 'BUT' the main entry... why not just take the 3 seconds (if that) to update the entry when you swap in/out the new content for the default page?

Personally, it's sad when *I* personally feel that AT&T Broadband Internet's portal at blows the pants off an established internet company of the precedence of a Yahoo. It's logical, it's clean, it's elegant, it's MODERN and it's broken down nice enough that the content is a joy to be presented, not to be overburdened, lambasted, and slathered with it to the point of retinal burnout. Granted, I'm not a portal nut, so I rarely use the site or read the site, but I do have it set as a default page on my PC. The Mac still has my homepage.

With that said... I think portals are so 1990's... (had to toss in that valley girl style way of putting it for extra emphasis on how annoying they've become) With the advent of Sherlock on Mac, Sherlock & Watson on OS X, and Copernicus on Windows; I think the days of portals will eventually fade because even presenting this level of content (along with all of the banner ads and pop-up ads and slide in/out/up/down ads) has gotten to the point that it's increasingly annoying to the end user. I think it's that whole idea that a user wants the information, when they want it, and don't want to be burdened with 100's of 1,000's of other tidbits of useless information when they're looking for "ONE" thing. Dare I say it, but I feel like we're moving into the Search Engine age... whether client side, or server side (like Google, which is the new master since Hotbot became garish... errr... wait, it's always been garish, it just turned into a semi-portal when portals became passé:-)). Google provides the information as you want/need it... and doesn't serve you with tons of information that you don't want when you're looking for one thing. Granted, portals have their place for providing news... but if I want news, I'll go to or some other news site. Rather than go to John Doe's site to see his new portal to the world wide web.

As far as the new look of Yahoo... is it really? To me it looks like they just polished the old look. However to coin a term from Beavis and Butthead... "You can't polish a turd." Why not just a simple open site (think Google, simple and clean, uncluttered), some nice graphics to catch your eye (doesn't have to be as plain as Google, but minimalism like a new iMac, can be beautiful) maybe positioned with CSS, maybe 4 of the more prevalent site News headlines for the moment, and then subdivide the site into content areas that take you to the areas of information the client is wanting to see. Maybe use a rotating "EMBEDDED" (please, please, please... stop the insanity... no more pop-up/pop-in/pop-out/pop-unders!!!) banner ad to cover the advertising expenses. I mean, Yahoo's magazine has a fairly elegant look/feel to it. I don't read it, but it looks attractive. Their internet site is probably one of the least attractive sites out there. This beta doesn't improve it much.

FROM: big fat lizard
DATE: Thursday June 20, 2002 -- 12:49:05 am
Yahoo Used to be my favorite search engine...I used to use it for my home page - but I found out google bought their old engine...and Google FLYS...but I bet there will be a day when Google looks a lot like Yahoo...It's just a matter of time...just like K-Mart's are now Wal-Marts!...we always want to re design something innovative - allthough still luring the "traditional" touch!

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