Yahoo's New Front Page Gets Personalized

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Yahoo's revamped front page, which it previewed yesterday and plans to launch sometime this summer, is more personalized to individual users' options and local communities and is similar to AOL and MSN's home page designs.

The front page's new "personal preview" area displays users' recent messages from Yahoo Mail, a "friends online" list from Yahoo Messenger, local weather, local traffic and events from Yahoo Local.

"What's different with the new homepage is that it stresses personalization and content. Yahoo sets the main top-center focal point on its leading stories and their related video clips," David Berkowitz, director of strategic planning for search marketing firm 360i told DMNews.

While search is very prominent, so is content. Yahoo added more feature stories, entertainment and sports items, as well as more video and text news.

"The new site reinforces Yahoo's role as a portal first and search engine second, so the design competes more with AOL and MSN than Google and Ask," Mr. Berkowitz said.

Still, search is the main focus of the front page. Yahoo's main search box is still near the top of the page but is now larger and more prominent. The search bar includes buttons for Images, Video, Audio, Local, and other services. Yahoo Answers, the community for people to share questions and answers, is prominently displayed right below the bar.

"The search field maintains its top-of-page prominence and...the results page is the same as it has been," Mr. Berkowitz said.

Meanwhile, a new toolbar displaying Yahoo categories, such as Finance and Real Estate, displayed on the left side of the page, is similar to Ask's toolbar that debuted last year. Ask's toolbar is located on the right side of its page.

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