new new new

Ever feel like ‘new’ technologies seem to be screaming at you like those goofy ad guys on TV?  “SALE SALE SALE!! Get everything in our store at some outrageous discount!”  I’ve seen so many articles and blogs about the new Yahoo! homepage that all sounded just like that.  Of course in the end they win, I went to go see what all the commotion is about.  Maybe the marketing is effective after all.

At first glance, the Yahoo homepage isn’t much different from what it previously showed.  There are links for all your favorite places to visit, a few popular news items, top searches and a couple of ads.  The NEW is the interactivity.  There’s a hover.  It seems to be everywhere. I am sure Yahoo is taking advantage of its pretty well written YUI which is a javascript-based library of nifty visual enhancements and interactivity.  So what this hover does, is on your ‘My Favorites’ bar, you can hover over the links you put there and it gives you a huge screen-hogging pop-up “preview” of that site, with ads.  It’s a little annoying to me, and pretty much just a big distraction.  I am a typer, I don’t like ‘handy links’, I’d rather just open up my browser and type in the url I want to go to, simple as that. The news items are now in little tabs so you can quickly click through them.  This is nice. It’s all javascript of course, so when I go turn it off, the whole site bombs.  They apparently feel no need to have it gracefully degrade.  I guess that’s OK, most people who would want it as their home page would not be turning off javascript.

The fun part about designing and building interactive websites is that you’re building them to the higher than median range of people.  You are going for the ‘Wow’ factor with those who want to see the fun functionality and who aren’t going to have Flash and javascript (and silverlight? eew?) turned off or purposely not installed.  The trick is making sure that your target audience isn’t turned off by too much interactivity.  Do all the pop-ups get annoying?  What if I was there just to find your contact information because I still like making that phone call?  Do I have to wait through a 10-minute fancy flash ad introduction every time I go to the site?  Am I annoying my customers away?  It’s all good things to think about, and those are the questions we will bring up as a development team.  While we all bring our expertise and personal opinions to the table, we work together to bring about the best solution for our clients by being able to balance creativity, interactivity and message.