During her first earnings call as CEO of Yahoo on Monday, Marissa Mayer said that she wants the company to focus on products that users will make a part of their daily habits.Multiple sources tell us one of her biggest efforts toward this goal is something code-named “Project Homerun” – a redesigned Yahoo homepage.
This makes sense.
Other than the Facebook News Feed and the Google.com homepage, there is no more visited site on the entire Internet than the Yahoo.com homepage.
ComScore says 170 million people visit Yahoo sites every day, and a huge percentage of them are funneled to this page.
With Webmail, and therefore Yahoo Mail, on the decline thanks to smartphones and teens who prefer texting to email, the Yahoo homepage has become the company’s most important product. Attracting people to it will also be a crucial step in Mayer’s plans to restore Yahoo’s search market share.
(We’ve already seen early versions of what this new home page will look like. Scroll down for a screen grab and a comparison with the current Yahoo homepage.)
Sources tell us that Yahoo will begin rolling out a version of the redesign to between one and two per cent of its U.S. users starting November first.
Then it will go through at least another four weeks of testing and analysis. Finally, Yahoo plans to roll out the new home page to everyone in the U.S. “no sooner” than on December first, ramping availability from two per cent to 100 per cent in 10 days.
The mission of the redesign, according to leaked product launch plans is to “Create a habitual, personally relevant experience that puts our hundreds of millions of users in the driver’s seat, all day, every day.”
Yahoo’s key metric for measuring the success or failure of Project Homerun will be “Homepage Sessions Per User Per Day” – which are sessions on Yahoo originating on the home page itself.
In October, a source sent us a screenshot of one version of the new home page.
Judging by the screenshot, the big changes to the page are:
- The search bar is now centered, and is part of a darker toolbar that is fixed to the top of the page as the user scrolls down.
- The Yahoo! logo is smaller, and no longer purple.
- The word “search” has been replaced with a magnifying glass icon.
- There are far fewer links to Yahoo Sites on the left side. Losers are: Dating, Flickr, Games, Jobs, Messenger, Music, My Yahoo!, and TV.
- Local weather has its own module.
- What’s trending has been de-emphasised and moved to the left column.
- This is a now the second largest story tout below the top stories.
- Instead of just headlines, the news river has story summaries.
- Astrology has its own module.
Here is what Yahoo’s home page looks like now. Below, what it will start to look like soon.
And here is what it looks like if you scroll down. Note the search bar comes with you…