Yahoo has updated their mobile homepage ( wap.oa.yahoo.com ). Compare the new (top) and the old (bottom). I do think the new layout is more attractive. But where have the accesskeys gone!!! What's an accesskey? It's a shortcut key that can be added to various web page elements, like links. When you press the shortcut key, the link is followed even if it's scrolled off the screen. On most phones, which don't have a tocuchsceen or mouse, accesskeys greatly speed up navigation. On the old Yahoo home page, if you wanted to go to News, you could just press the "5" key, but with the new Yahoo page, you have to press the d-pad down button 7 times and then press the select key. One keypress or eight which would you prefer? I don't know what the mobile product managers (Russell?) at Yahoo are thinking. Is it that all those numbers are ugly and clutter the page? I'm sorry, but I'll take usability over beauty.
Enough of the complaints. The new homepage has a kind of Today Screen feature in that the two top news headlines and local weather are displayed right on the homepage. I'd like to see Yahoo go little further with the Today Screen idea and put today's events from my Y! Calendar on the mobile homepage too.
Yahoo's always been the most mobile-aware of the big web portals and currently they seem to be going through a cycle of updating all their mobile web properties. Y! Mobile News now has small 100px wide photos at the top of most stories. There's a new beta Address Book (again with no accesskeys!!) to go along with the Y!Mail beta (which surprise! - has no accesskeys either). When I reviewed the Y! Mail Mobile Beta, I complained that there was no way to add, edit or delete contacts in the mobile address book. That's been fixed and full contact management is now available in both the beta and legacy versions of the Y! Addressbook.
In my Mobile Mail Speed Test item a month and a half ago, I found Y!Mail considerably slower than Gmail. So slow that I was often getting timeouts when deleting a message. Happily, that is no longer the case. Yahoo must have upgraded their mobile mail infrastructure as opening and deleting email is definitely faster and I'm not getting any timeouts. Gmail seems to have slowed down a bit too with both services now taking about 15 seconds to delete a message and open the next one. Gmail is still faster and easier to use though because, guess what, it has accesskeys.
Yahoo Mobile Portal: xhtml-mp/wml
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