Yahoo has unveiled a major overhaul of its vaunted homepage, a redesign aimed at creating a less cluttered, more malleable and more centralized user experience.
The new homepage, which will be available at Yahoo.com/try new, has been designed to enable users to better connect to their favorite Web sites and services in one central Web locale, including top social networking sites as well as their mobile phones.
For example, users can integrate their various email accounts on the homepage, whether they are Yahoo-branded or not. And much like AOL’s recently revamped homepage, Yahoo users can update their status on sites like Facebook and MySpace without leaving Yahoo.com.
Plus, borrowing as page from Apple, Yahoo has rolled out a series of apps – i.e. mini programs which visitors can user to customize their homepage experience.
Redesigns are common among Web portals. But Yahoo executives are touting the new homepage as the most significant redesign of the company’s core product since its launch in 1994. But in doing so, a brand which has always touted personalization (e.g. MyYahoo) and putting the user first is acknowledging that it has gradually abandoned those principles.
Tapan Bhat, Yahoo’s senior vp, integrated consumer experiences, admitted that the current Yahoo homepage had grown too cluttered, driven by editorial and business demands. Recent homepage decisions, he said, have “been about Yahoo, not the user.”
"Yahoo needs to make user experience first,” Bhat added. “If our goal is to make Yahoo the center of a people’s lives online, this homepage has to change.”
What is unlikely to change, at least at first glance, is Yahoo.com's importance to marketers. Last month the page alone reached 113 million unique users in June, per comScore, and it still commands high rates even during these recessionary times.
Based on screenshots made available to reporters prior to the new version of the homepage’s launch, its premium, oversized ad position remains largely intact.