Yahoo! Go 2.0 shows how far mobile UI design has to go

Yahoo Go 2.0

Have you seen the Yahoo! Go 2.0 interface yet? I have, although only on my laptop as their mobile beta is currently full… I’m on the waiting list.

Yahoo! are very excited about this interface. Here’s how they describe it:

A revolutionary design. Yahoo Go! is the first application optimized for the “small screen” of a mobile phone that truly makes it easy and fun to access the Internet. Everything about the Yahoo! Go interface is designed to be both visually stunning and give you what you want with the fewest clicks possible.

At the core of the UI is the ‘carousel’ at the bottom of the screen that allows you to switch between the various widgets or applications (such as email, and the typical content streams – news, finance, sport etc.).

The carousel could hardly be described as revolutionary, as it is obviously inspired by the Mac OS UI.

More interesting, I think, is the design of the mobile search and the customisation of content sources.

The mobile search actually sounds pretty clever. Not only have the designed the search results in a way that is more useful for the mobile user:

oneSearch includes more actual content in your initial results than any other search—all grouped by subject matter and relevance, so there’s no sea of links to wade through like with a PC search.

The search engine also has location awareness – both awareness of where you are in the application AND physical location awareness. Now this is getting sexy.

oneSearch improves results based on both where you are in the application and where you are in the real world. For instance, launching a search for “eagles” in Sports will return results for the professional football team first. Similarly, searching for a movie will yield showtimes in your local area.

Ah, can it be – finally – location based services coming to a handset near you! I’ve waited a long time for this!

Content customisation looks as though it allows you to subscribe to RSS feeds to your phone using their interface. Very nice (although probably not so new). So you can choose who provides your news rather than live with whoever Yahoo! has their content deal with.

Another nice looking feature aims to remove the need to type URLs (hooray! this is no fun at all on a mobile).

Yahoo! Go also makes it easy to get to other websites. Simply type in the name of a website you want to visit (like eBay), and oneSearch returns the link to the website. Click the link and you’re there.

Having recently upgraded to a reasonably current handset (review coming soon!), I can confirm that the mobile user experience remains, as it has been for some time now, utterly rubbish. It’s as though all stakeholders are conspiring to make things as difficult as possible – from the product design of the hardware to the installed software to the internet content and design. There are frustrations and errors to be made at every turn.

So far, most compliments have to be paid to one or two browsers that are invaluable in making the internet a vaguely hospitable place for the mobile browser. Yahoo! Go 2.0 will hopefully also make the overall experience a little more palatable.

At the end of the day though, it should be a massive wake up call to us all that Yahoo! borrowing an element from the OS user interface and transplanting it into the mobile environment could be considered revolutionary.

It seems ridiculous to me that it has taken this long for any kind of innovation to areas like search interface for mobile and eliminating URL entry to occur. Sure, I know it’s a technical nightmare to develop for mobile… but it’s outrageous that little seems to be happening to increase consistency across handsets and browsers and operating systems.

*deep breaths*
With any luck I’ll get a Beta invite sometime soon… stay tuned for reports on what it’s like to actually use this interface.

Have you used the Go 2.0 interface yet? How’d you find it?

Finally giving into Twitter…

Twitter Logo

People have been talking about Twitter for a while now, and at first it held little appeal to me. I mean, exactly how publicly do we *really* need to live. Are people *really* interested in that level of detail in each others lives?

Well… maybe, maybe not. But I’m finally going to give Twitter a proper go, for these two reasons:

Firstly – I think it’s something to do with the brevity/wit relationship that means that reading what people write is often genuinely amusing. (I’m definitely going to have to work at Twittering better)

Secondly – the immediacy is second to none. I thought I was getting behind the times when I’d let my RSS reading lapse for a few days or, heaven forbid, a week. Now just by not being in the Twitter chain I’m missing out of stuff. Not missing out is a powerful social driver. So, I’m in.

Question is – who else out there is Twittering now? Want to be Twitter buddies? Promise I won’t Twitter to often or too boringly ;)

links for 08 January 2007 – Wall Calendar with Chalk!

  • I really want a wall that’s painted like a chalk board… either that, or a wall painted with magnetic paint so i can stick stuff to it. Maybe something like this chalkboard wall calendar (via http://usabilityworks.org/)

links for 06 January 2007 – UX Visualisation Tool

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