Yahoo is in the midst of rolling out a major redesign of its portal page and has begun testing the new format with a small percentage of users. Changes to the user interface add an emphasis on a more engaging personal experience rather than highlighting Yahoo’s other properties.
At the top of the page, Yahoo has brought the logo in line with the search box. This still places a strong emphasis on search, however it leaves more room on the screen for other information.
Likely the largest departure from Yahoo’s previous home pages is removing the directory of services from the main left hand navigation bar. This space has been tailored to the user and includes links and notifications for personalized services such as Email, Weather, Stocks and Flickr.
The Yahoo Services menu will now sit on the right hand side of the screen above the ad on the right hand side of the screen. This shows less emphasis on re-circulating traffic like a newspaper and more on creating a personal experience on the home page.
Yahoo is also adding Email notifications and links to other services. This daring new strategy is meant to bring users to the page as their 1 Email ‘dashboard.’ Checking email on other accounts can send a user to a competitor’s site multiple times a day and this move aims to keep users engaged on Yahoo’s site.
Another view hints at the ability to customize the user navigation bar to display notifications from other sites. These elements include third party social media sites including YouTube, MySpace, Facebook and Twitter.
Social Media sites have been drawing users away from the major Portals in order to check messages and socialize. Yahoo intends to keep users engaged by bringing notifications for these sites to their homepage.
Overall, the result of this redesign is a more personal and customized experience for users in the coming weeks. These moves recognize that people use services that are fragmented across the web, and helps them to carry them to their home page with them.