Yahoo Homepage Gets A Risky But Overdue Facelift

A homepage redesign would hardly be noteworthy when it comes to most sites on the Web - but for Yahoo, It's a revolution.

Yahoo - long in the tooth among its rivals - doesn't change early or often, historically speaking. But Wednesday the company rolled out a much-needed update to its cluttered Web hub, Yahoo.com. Marissa Mayer, the company's refreshingly bright-eyed new CEO, just keeps picking up the pace.

Yahoo's Homepage Enters The Social Era

Since taking the top role at the troubled company, the former Googler has overseen a handful of small acquisitions aiming to bolster Yahoo's set of mobile apps. Now, the iconic purple Yahoo homepage cleans up its look with a flatter, more modern design while adding endless scrolling, stealing a page from the social media playbook of sites like Tumblr and Twitter. Yahoo also updated its core apps today to reflect the changes on Yahoo.com.

In a blog post on Yodel Anecdotal, Yahoo's somewhat obscure and unfortunately named company blog, Mayer writes:

"Designed to be more intuitive and personal, the new Yahoo! experience is all about your interests and preferences. Since streams of information have become the paradigm of choice on the web, we’re introducing a newsfeed with infinite scroll, letting you experience a virtually endless feed of news articles."

True to form, Mayer's mission to inject Yahoo into social and mobile relevance plays out in the redesign. The new homepage cleans up the site's interest channels (Entertainment, Finance, etc. are moved onto tabs) and allows users signed into Facebook to browse a socially rethought version of the news stream.

Back when Facebook's Timeline first launched, Yahoo was an early partner of the social reading experience, which allows users to passively share the stories they see across the Web. The company continues its evolution in this direction, without sacrificing too much of its DNA. 

Messing With Imperfection... And An Old Formula

Blame it on Internet Explorer defaults or less-than-savvy Web surfers, but Yahoo's homepage is still one of the Web's most trafficked sites. Yahoo.com currently ranks as the #4 most popular website in the U.S. according to Alexa, trailing only Google, Facebook and YouTube.

But Yahoo is unique among the top slots - Google's spartan homepage is a search engine, of course, and YouTube and Facebook are both social platforms. Yahoo's homepage remains a busy hub of all things Y!, from its curated front page news carousel to Yahoo Mail and everything in between. It might not be pretty, but the Yahoo.com we know keeps vast amounts of traffic churning and ad revenue pouring in. Considering the scale of traffic it drives, tinkering with the homepage formula even a little bit entails significant risk. 

After all, if it ain't broke don't fix it - but if you ask Marissa Mayer, socializing it a little couldnt hurt.