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Yahoo changes user experience
February 20, 2013 - Art Smith
Yahoo unveiled a new home page today. Many may say big deal. Is it a big deal? It might be, depending on how you use the web.
Yahoo is among a handful of portals on the web. A portal site offers you a full suite of services, normally for free, that will encourage you to visit the site often. There are a handful of others; Bing and Google being the other giants.
All of them hope you will make their page your home page. The manager of every website in the world, of course, hopes you make his site your home page (this one included). When a person makes a site their home page, it opens every time they open a new browser window. That can lead to an enormous amount of traffic, which leads, logically, to a lot of revenue.
Yahoo gets a huge amount of traffic, in fact Alexa, which collects information about sites ranks it as the fourth most popular site both nationally and internationally. Google, Facebook and YouTube were the only ones that ranked higher.
Some coverage of the change reports it being minor. I think in fact, they are fairly major. The site now has a “news feed” style display of stories in the middle of the page. The page effectively has no bottom.
If you log in with your Facebook login the assumption is they will display items you have liked or similar to things you have liked. For instance, a story about how Netflix may influence the Emmy’s showed six of my friends had liked the company’s Facebook page. These friend-connected stories get a higher listing on the site.
Local sites, such as MariettaTimes.com get a lot of traffic from search engines and portals when users search for topic-specific information. Many portals, such as Google News, provide links into our sites for people who are logged into search engines. Google correctly displays links for both Marietta and Parkersburg when I am logged in because it knows my address.
Yahoo fails to do this, instead incorrectly display news link for Charleston, even though it could have pulled address information from my Facebook account instead of depending on the sometimes faulty geographic information of an Internet Service Provider.
The Yahoo redesign is a good first step toward staying relevant. It will be interesting to see into what it evolves.
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