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May 16, 2006

Yahoo Revamps Website

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Yahoo is allowing Firefox and Internet Explorer users to try their hands at their revamped beta homepage.

The new homepage has been completely Web 2.0’d and is outfitted in the necessary pastel trimmings (with five different color choices, ooo!) that have been all the rage this season. The overhaul is mostly cosmetic, but does feature a simpler navigation system and lots of personalization. Wonderfully, Yahoo! Answers, which just yesterday appeared out of the way at the bottom of the SERP, has been moved up to the top, making it permanently in the way.

Yahoo says the new design includes a bigger search box, but I’m not seeing how that’s true. It doesn’t look any bigger or prominent to me, and its positioning finds it almost getting lost in a sea of text. Honestly, my eyes skipped right past it when I first landed on the page. Overall, the page is still cluttered, loaded in AJAX and DHTML, has an array of useless information, and defaults back to the “old” Yahoo once you perform a search. What’s the point in that?

I suppose it’s better than before, but I still don’t find it particularly user-friendly – unless you’re using Yahoo for its portals and not for the actual search. Actually, now that I think of it, this probably is what you’re using it for. In that case, the new Personal Assistant box gives users’ instant access to Yahoo Mail, Messenger, Radio, Weather and other features.

I’ll surely like it better once MyYahoo! takes on the same format and I can pick which features I want and which I don’t. I don’t hate the new look, I’m just not crazy about all those widgets. I’m not interested in the marketplace or Yahoo! Pulse or anything else that connects me to the average searcher. I prefer my homepage to be about me – hearty chunks of news from different sources, maybe some weather, a splash of gossipy tech goodness and that’s about it. All these other features and space-taker-uppers need to go.

Currently, Yahoo founders Jerry Yang and David Filo have posted a video of themselves straight on the homepage to give users an ‘inside look’ behind the redesign. Because it’s not like we’ve been looking at screenshots of it for months. Yawn.

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