UPDATE: The spotlight shines on search and RSS in the portal’s redesign.
Yahoo has redesigned its popular home page to encourage use of its search property. The company’s My Yahoo personalized section has also gotten a revamp, which gives more prominence to RSS feeds and improves the user interface.
The company’s new front page, now in Beta but expected to be rolled out over the next few weeks, gives increased prominence to Yahoo Search. Rather than a simple grey box with a pull-down menu, the new page features a larger display with tabbed navigation that highlights the different types of search available: Web, Images, Directory, Yellow Pages, News and Products. Further highlighting its search tool, the company has added a "Buzz Log" module to the home page, which features popular searches on the network.
Along with the increased emphasis on search comes the a shift upward of one of Yahoo’s main ad position on the front page -- a prominent 100 by 300 pixel ad position in the right hand column. It now appears immediately below the searc box. The other ad position, a 192 by 110 pixel slot in the left column, is unchanged. The company’s other advertising modeule, the Marketplace box, still appears in the right hand column.
With the redesign, users may now decide for themselves which icons -- linking to different sections of Yahoo -- appear at the top of the page alongside the Yahoo logo. Other changes mostly consist of the shifting around of content that has long been a part of the Yahoo front page.
The new My Yahoo gets a more significant overhaul, with the new tabbed search navigation also prominently featured. In addition, the launch marks the general release of the company’s feed aggregator, in beta since early this year. In conjunction with that launch, the company is promoting the format to its users, telling them they now have access to: "Over 150,000 sources spanning the Web: from baby blogs to big brands, dachshunds to dinosaurs, gadget reviews to global news." The company also allows users to add a custom search feed for any search terms from Yahoo Search.
"We believe Yahoo is in a unique position to help bring the benefits of technologies like RSS to mainstream consumers. We are very proud of our long-standing history of finding ways to ensure consumers are getting the most out of their experiences both on the Yahoo network and on the Web at large," said Geoff Ralston, chief product officer for Yahoo
Aside from the new feed aggregator, Yahoo has added features to make customization easier. Users may organize modules on My Yahoo by simply dragging and dropping them, may edit them more easily, and may email them to friends.
"It’s still a beta product and we are listening," said Scott Gatz, senior director of personalization products at Yahoo "I really see this as a jumping off point. It’s a new way of looking at how a page like this should be. That’s how we’ve been driving this so far."
The company is also rolling out a new personalized mobile start page to make it easier for users to access Yahoo content from their mobile phones.
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Pamela Parker is a former managing editor of ClickZ News, Features, and Experts. She's been covering interactive advertising and marketing since the boom days of 1999, chronicling the dot-com crash and the subsequent rise of the medium. Before working at ClickZ, Parker was associate editor at @NY, a pioneering Web site and e-mail newsletter covering New York new media start-ups. Parker received a master's degree in journalism, with a concentration in new media, from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.
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