A few random Web servers have recently been treated to a test version of a new Yahoo home page. MediaPost blogger Mark Walsh scored a screenshot of the page, and describes what he saw:
The biggest change is the customizable left nav bar featuring Yahoo properties that now allows people to add or edit links to outside sites through an "application gallery" that opens up via tabs at the top and bottom of the section. The gallery displays clickable icons for a group of more than 20 third-party publishers that also includes MySpace, Barron's, Divine Caroline, and MarketWatch. It seems likely that Yahoo will add more sites to this initial group of partners, but it doesn't appear at present that Yahoo allows users to add links to any other site in the nav bar.
Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand-word blog post. Compare Yahoo's super-busy idea of a home page to that of its far more successful competitor, Google. Google head of search products and user experience, Marissa Mayer, has explained publicly that Google tests showed a half-second of extra page load time, even to display more search results, reduced user traffic -- and more importantly, ad revenue -- by 20 percent.
If new CEO Carol Bartz wants to make deep, controversial cuts in order to turn Yahoo around, she should probably start with the home page.