Yahoo! News requested a redesign of the their popular website. What started out as a dynamically generated set of text based news feeds was transformed into a customer centric, advertising friendly #1 news internet site on the web.
Challenge: Yahoo! News wanted to be the best and most relevant online news service on the Internet. Its goal was to create a compelling and customizable new view for users; build deeper feature and content packaging to enhance contextual advertising opportunities; and drive traffic from the site, deeper into other parts of the Yahoo! network.
Response: Making over the site involved introducing new skills to the News department who were reluctant to let go of the way things worked at first.
With the introduction of a six-month research phase consisting of focus groups, usability studies, segmentation analysis, field research, and advertising studies, I was able to bring the news team to a shared understanding of the scope and scale of what we needed to do from a design perspective to help them achieve their goals. Resources were approved and I built a world class team of interdisciplinary designers to transform the site.
Findings from the research phase informed the design of a customized digital news experience targeted at specific customer segments. Users were offered up-to-the minute, comprehensive, contextual news with features informed by consumer insights. Pages were easier to navigate and were laid out to be clearer to read.
For advertisers, the new site offered integrated and more valuable ad units. The design enabled sponsors to underwrite parts of the site by providing templates that they could “plug and play” their content and brand into.
Results: Yahoo! News moved to #1 news site category on the web according to Neilson Netratings enabling it to reach its goal of becoming the best and most relevant online news service on the Internet of its time.
Unique visitors to the News site increased five times within a year of launch. With new visitors and greater traffic to the site, advertising revenue increased and more people were drawn into the Yahoo! brand experience.
Testimonial from Kourosh Karimkhany, Senior Producer of Yahoo! News
“I met Sally when she was running one of Yahoo’s design groups and I was running the day-to-day operations of Yahoo News. My product had been performing well, but was not well respected and was not growing fast enough in comparison to our competitors. Sally was assigned to my redesign project – which turned out to be one of the most fortuitous turns in my career. She led a team that essentially invented the current form of Yahoo News – the largest news site in the world.
She came up with very clever solutions to devilish problems – like how to display a lot of information on one page without overwhelming the reader, and how to present the same story from several news organizations. These were radical ideas that Google News aped a couple years later.
She was a consummate pro as well.
My team had several strong personalities (yours truly included), but she managed to keep egos and tempers in check. What’s more, even though different members gave wildly different suggestions, Sally managed to sprinkle just the right pinch of each of our demands into the final product.
The result: Yahoo News’ traffic exploded. A year after the redesign traffic was five times higher.
I would LOVE to work with her again. While I like to brag about Yahoo News’ explosive growth as one of the highlights on my career, Sally truly deserves more of the credit.
Role: Design Director