Yahoo! is rolling out its new homepage and it’s been produced with great fanfare – Yahoo’s consumer experiences head Tapan Bhat said:
“It marks the beginning of a renaissance of Yahoo, a renaissance where every pixel matters”
So – is it any good?
The biggest change is the ability to customise/personalise the left hand bar, putting in your favourite sites. This then allows you to hover over each and a pop-up appears showing you the most recent updates on the site without going to the page. This is both a great and annoying feature. The pop-ups are useful and saves time, yet they appear too easily and it’s too hard to get them to GO AWAY! They appear with a mouse over, but to get rid of them you must select a ‘close’ icon in the far corner. Whilst they’re up they completely cover the rest of the page contents meaning you can’t see anything else until you close it.
There’s also a minor delay between the pop up’s appearance and the content populating in it, so for half a second or so you’re staring at an empty box. Why not only display once the pop-up contents are loaded?
The audience this is aimed at will already be aware of iGoogle (where you are able to personalise the whole page to a much greater extent). iGoogle also has the killer advantage – Google. No matter how good the homepage of Yahoo is, it will still force you to search using Yahoo. Google is by far the most popular search engine, and many people will be reluctant to switch. There must be a pretty compelling reason for someone to switch search engines. I don’t think this is it.
Yahoo will get stick for this update, the changes made may not be massive or groundbreaking, but they are significant. They do add to the experience of the site. It also ensures Yahoo’s less tech-savvy audience segment aren’t alienated.
It’s an improvement, just not a big enough one to change the declining fortunes of one of the Internet giants.