As part of its company-wide refresh, Yahoo! has given its News section a makeover. The redesign, which the company described as “a more personal, intuitive and modern design,” is part of an effort to establish a more consistent look-and-feel across the company.
One of Yahoo!’s biggest mantras right now is personalization, and the News redesign is intended to make the stream of daily events more customizable to a user’s preferences. The news section learns about a signed-in user’s story preferences over time, creating what the company called a “personal news hub.” The user can also indicate preferences for story topics.
The company said it has put the news “front and center in the content stream,” implemented faster loading and an infinite news scroll, and made navigation easier between news categories like Politics, Tech and Science. In addition, a new iOS app allows users to pick between classic or the new mobile design, the latter features a flow of large images with short news summaries on the top layer. An Android version is in the works.
The redesigned Yahoo News is rolling out to U.S. users over the next few days. No word yet on the rollout to other markets.
The company has also undertaken recent redesigns of Yahoo Mail and Yahoo Finance. In February, the Yahoo home page was redesigned, also including a cleaner look, an infinite news scroll and a personalized news feed. CEO Marissa Mayer, who has led the company through a variety of acquisitions, shake-ups and other changes in recent months, told the annual shareholder’s meeting on Tuesday that Yahoo will “continue to make investments” to drive growth.
Do News Filters Remove Surprises?
Mayer indicated that email use has increased 70% since its overhaul in April, and she has said that page views and time spent on the home page have also increased.
The move to news filters that can be set or that can learn about your interests raises questions for the news hounds among us. Certainly, while personalized news has its advantages -- who wants to see a story about Burkina Faso’s new president? -- it has the possibility of removing a key reason that many of us read the news in the first place: to be surprised.
Novelist Truman Capote wrote his groundbreaking “In Cold Blood” because he randomly came across a story about a multiple murder in Kansas. Would the development of the nonfiction novel have happened differently if Capote had a learning news filter that kept narrowing his choices of stories?