Yahoo has rolled out the beta version of its news site, apparently to coincide with CEO Carol Bartz’ visit to India. Yahoo News India, in its current form, wears a pre-2004 look, and never received the makeover that Yahoo News US did. Some noticeable changes:
– More of a visual experience: The new site offers users a far more visual experience on the homepage, and less headlines to go through, which means less scrolling as compared to the current US version of the Yahoo News homepage; the current India homepage looks archaic, so this is a welcome change. Straight up, Yahoo displays the top three stories of the moment as images, while also offering users the most popular news stories on the right. There’s a 728×90 banner for advertising in the first scroll, which looks rather odd, not really fitting into the design. The photo gallery is also displayed more prominently on the homepage now.
– Homepage content not sorted by source: One significant change to the homepage, is that Yahoo isn’t sorting out news by source (Reuters, ANI, PTI, AP etc), instead focusing on the top three headlines for each segment. The segments – National News, World News, Business, Sports etc are in a two column format, while earlier they were in a single column, which meant that the page was longer. Just two ad units on the current Yahoo News homepage means that ad rates might well be pushed up.
– More personalizedYahoo claims in its intro to the new design, that it incorporates personalization features, recommending personalized “Top Stories” on the homepage, and “News For You” on the post pages.
– Less related content, More Tweets, External Blogs: in comparison with its previous design (see this), Yahoo is displaying a lot less related content, and no Editor’s Picks. Instead, judging by the US beta, Yahoo is incorporating Tweets into the design, and linking out to related blogs. It’s almost an exercise in de-cluttering. Perhaps filling the page with too many links and too much content created blind spots.
– Featured content & Trending topics have been pushed down, to the bottom half of the homepage
– Blogs: the intro to the new design suggests that Yahoo will incorporate blogs on the homepage – it has done so in the global beta, but not for India yet. Yahoo India does have many popular Indian bloggers as columnists, and we’d like to see their content showcased better.
– Ad Units: most pages feature a single 300×250 banner, and the Yahoo India homepage has a 728×90 banner in the first scroll. Frankly, the 728×90 looks rather odd and out of place, but that’s what makes it stand out.
– Only On Yahoo Originals: The video page has been reworked, though not much: Yahoo has made space for video content that is available only on Yahoo.