From changes as simple as introducing a "holiday theme" that gives Yahoo! a pumpkin colored Thanksgiving look, to the addition of Google-inspired tab options for each of Google's search categories, Yahoo! has once again given the front page of its site a makeover.

The ever-present icon options that accompany the Yahoo! logo at the top of the screen have been enlarged and given a cleaner look and the "HotJobs" option has been replaced with a new "music" logo that helps promote Yahoo!'s LAUNCH music site. The redesign of the icon line will help Yahoo! direct more traffic toward LAUNCH and its collection of music news, videos, online radio stations and artist information.

The new tab options allowing users to select the type of search they wish to perform, replacing the drop down box that used to appear next to Yahoo!'s search query box. The tabs feature the option to search the Web, Images, News, Products, Yahoo! Local and introduces a tab for the Yahoo! directory. While this may be encouraging for fans of Yahoo!'s directory feature, Yahoo! has balanced this addition by moving the directory categories further down the page and by condensing the categories into a dozen link options and about an inch of vertical space in the design.

The new design also replaces the "Local Yahoo!" and "More Yahoo!" sections with condensed versions that have been shrunk in much the way that the directory section has been. The newly freed up space has been used to highlight Yahoo!'s small business offerings and featured services like DSL, personals and job listings. Featured sections have also been added to highlight entertainment content and the Buzz Log.

Overall, the new design is clean and concise and highlights some of Yahoo!'s more popular offerings that had been previously been hidden deeper in the site. At the same time, the design downplays useful features like the directory and the HotJobs employment search engine. Yahoo! may be playing on the fact that those features are well known enough that users will be willing to search for them, or Yahoo! may be looking to phase those features out, only time will tell.
November 29, 2004

Jennifer Laycock is the Editor of Search Engine Guide, the Social Media Faculty Chair for MarketMotive and offers small business social media strategy & consulting. Jennifer enjoys the challenge of finding unique and creative ways to connect with consumers without spending a fortune in marketing dollars. Though she now prefers to work with small businesses, Jennifer’s clients have included companies like Verizon, American Greetings and Highlights for Children.

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