I know I am a bit late with this, but in a blog post just over a week ago, Marissa Mayer, the CEO of Yahoo, announced a new Yahoo:
Designed to be more intuitive and personal, the new Yahoo! experience is all about your interests and preferences. Since streams of information have become the paradigm of choice on the web, we’re introducing a newsfeed with infinite scroll, letting you experience a virtually endless feed of news articles. Whether you are a sports fanatic or entertainment buff, you can easily customize your newsfeed to your interests. And, to make Yahoo! even more social, you can log in with your Yahoo! or Facebook ID to get articles from thousands of news sources as well as those shared by your friends.
Because you come to Yahoo! everyday for must-know information, we’ve also introduced newly designed applications. From your local weather forecast to Facebook friends’ birthdays, you’ll always have the information you need. We’ve also refreshed some of what you love most — including our Yahoo! editorial features, and the daily snapshot into popular trending web searches.
In other words, and despite the new management, Yahoo is going to keep being Yahoo by trying to win more customers by adding more. They have not realised the error in this approach. The amount of services offered by Yahoo, whether it is News, Search, Email, Weather, etc., is not the downside of Yahoo. If anything, it is the opposite. Yahoo are trying to do too much. They keep adding services which are great as services, but combined and on one webpage are a horror to use. The reason that I for one do not use any of Yahoo’s services, is that the website (at least the Australian version) is just too damn unpleasant. It is too crowded. There is too much going on. There are too many colours. There is too much flashing. Look at this screenshot I just took of the top of the Yahoo front page:
When you land on this page, just where the hell are you meant to look? Is it at the advertising (which, if you are wearing headphones, mark the end of your eardrums)? Is it at the news? Is it at the weather? Is it the multitude of other sections, links and banners that bombard the page? When I decide to go to Yahoo, instead of landing on the front page and duly going about my business, I have to waste time just getting my bearings. And then I have to actively work at ignoring the flashing images and annoying videos. By contrast lets look at the page that pops up when I go to Google news:
Peace. If Google and Facebook have taught the world anything, it is that low-key, minimalist design provides a wonderful internet experience. Nothing pops up. There are no auto-plays. There aren’t a hundred things screaming at you from the moment you arrive. Everything is on separate pages, ready for when you want it. It is calming. It is organised. It allows you to concentrate on what you are trying to do.
Yahoo still offers many great services, but if they want to compete in the world of Google, Facebook and Twitter, they have to take the same low-key approach. They have to make their services not just useful, but useable. Then maybe, they can stop hiring CEO’s.