The Yahoo Makeover is under way. Under the direction of its new CEO, Marissa Mayer, the venerable Internet company introduced on Tuesday a new design for its popular Web service, as well as new or updated mobile e-mail apps. This is the first major product redo since Mayer took over five months ago.
The e-mail redesign applies to all major platforms, including the upgraded Web version, new apps for iPhone/iPod Touch and Windows 8, and an upgraded app for Android.
In a posting Tuesday on the corporate blog, Y! Yodel Anecdotal, Mayer wrote that "you've told us loud and clear that you want fewer distractions when it comes to e-mail," with the ability to quickly login, communicate, and "get on with your day."
'Back to Its Roots'
To accomplish this, Mayer said, the inbox is more intuitive and easier to navigate, with a focus on the messages, and, she added, the look-and-feel across platforms is consistent. The new Web version will roll out to users over the next few days.
In another post on another Yahoo blog, Yahoo Mail Blog, Mail and Messenger General Manager Vivek Sharma wrote that "somewhere along the way, e-mail got a little complex," without making the user more productive. The redesign, Sharma said, is "a step towards bringing e-mail back to its roots" -- fast and easy, and, with mobile devices now ubiquitous, available anywhere.
Sharma said the experience of the revised e-mail on a large screen is "optimized for composing messages and managing your inbox," while, on a smaller screen, it's focused "on providing an experience that lets you easily monitor and triage" your mail.
The new Yahoo e-mail has fewer buttons to simplify the experience, it will take a user directly to the inbox after logging in, and the company said the underlying processes have been improved to make writing and reading messages faster. After sending a message, a user returns immediately to the inbox, instead of seeing a "sent" screen, and mail search now has auto-complete to speed up finding messages or people.
Utilizing Windows Phone 8
Attachments will appear at the top of the message, and photos can readily be added from a digital camera -- or a photo can be taken and sent on a mobile device inside Yahoo Mail. Additionally, Mail will offer a basic photo resizing tool, providing a functionality for which e-mail users have long had to use an external application.
For Windows 8 device owners, the new Yahoo Mail is designed to take advantage of the new OS's built-in features. New messages are shown in Live Tiles on the Start screen, and Yahoo Mail will be usable in either Snapped or Fill View.
Yahoo Mail is the most popular Web-based e-mail in the U.S. and the third worldwide, following Google's Gmail and Microsoft's Hotmail. But Yahoo's e-mail users dropped by 16 percent in the U.S. last month and 7 percent worldwide in October, both compared to a year earlier. Some industry observers have said this could be because of the increased use of texting by younger users, but Google's Gmail grew by 25 percent in the U.S. in November and 20 percent worldwide in October.