Friday, September 09, 2005

Larry Tesler and Yahoo's front door

BusinessWeek has an interview with Larry Tesler, Yahoo's new VP of "User Experience and Design".

I like Larry's thoughts on incremental development, learning what works and what doesn't:
We try lots of things. We're trying those small and large changes constantly to all of the pages on our Web site. But before we put them out there, we have to make sure they're actually improvements.
Larry also makes it clear that Yahoo will be doing more personalized content and navigation on their home page:
We've been successful in the last year with adding a little more personalization: If we know where you are, we will give you the local weather. If you frequently visit "In the News," we will put that icon at the top of the page.

We are looking at more ways to personalize the experience. Also, we're always looking at ways of simplifying the navigation. We have taken things off [the home page], and I hope we will find more things to take off, but until we've proven that it improves the user experience, we won't do it.
Over a year ago, I wrote that Yahoo's home page "cries out for personalized navigation" and proposed a some ideas for a redesign that would "emphasize what is most likely to be useful to me." It would be great to see Larry push Yahoo down that path.

I know Larry from his stint at, but many people know Larry from his many years at Apple. Between Apple and Amazon, Larry co-founded a educational software company called StageCast that developed a pretty nifty visual programming language for children.

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