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Smarter Commerce | October 30, 2014

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The New New Yahoo! Mail Beta

Yahoo! has recently begun the role out of a new beta. I say new new because it seems like yesterday that Yahoo! was rolling out a beta which today is the defacto email client in addition to Classic. Confused much? Let me break it down for you: There are 3 Yahoo! email clients to chose from this very minute: 1) Yahoo! Classic, an ancient version of the popular mail client for those of you still watching Three’s Company re-runs, Yahoo! Mail for the contemporary set and Yahoo! Mail Beta for the futurists.


As the banner indicates, the new Yahoo! Mail Beta is faster, safer and easier to use. What’s more interesting about it is the approach the engineers at Yahoo! have taken to integrating different messaging options and channels into a single client. When you first log into the new email client you’re presented with the option of creating a new message that can take one of three flavors: email, SMS or Instant Message.

This approach isn’t new, we’ve seen these capabilities in other clients, however we can view this as a trend into a channel agnostic messaging platform agnosticism that most recently appeared via the new Facebook email client. The idea is that email clients are limiting and all of us communicate through multiple channels often times with the same person so why not incorporate all of the channels into a seamless client?

In addition the product page of the new mail client urges us to link Facebook into the new mail client so that we never miss a post. The integration points between email and social networks can’t be missed and are important to note for all those out there that may are still beating the “email is dead” drum.

I have to hand it to the engineers and product designers at Yahoo! The new email client is a nice update with larger default font sizes that are easy to read, bolder tabs and an overall cleaner appearance making it a poster child for web 2.0 design.

Things to take note of:

  • The most significant change to take note of is that images are ON by default in the inbox in the new email client. Before they were off in the old client, but they have always been on in the Classic client. Marketers should appreciate this new/old change that will help drive their messages home through engaging graphical content.
  • The tower ad on the right side looks to be the same size as the old client so¬† content isn’t necessarily being squished or pushed to the left because of increased advertising space.
  • The navigation bar on the left is slightly larger by default than the previous versions due to the use of the large icons for the Instant messenger.
  • The icons can be reduced or all together eliminated by the user.
  • Although the bar is larger the message content window isn’t smaller because the panels are now in line with each other and not separated by a background border.
  • The reading pane is still adjustable.
  • There was a small ad at the top of the old email client’s left hand nav bar and has been eliminated in the new email client, at least for now.
  • The search box is significantly larger in the new client vs. the old.
  • The top header with nav and menu options starts a little lower down the page due to the increase in size of the search bar and tabs etc. However, we’re not losing total top to bottom space here because the default calendar bar that used to be a the bottom of the old email client isn’t there anymore so the increased “header” space is a wash.
  • The applications box that lived by default at the bottom of the old client’s left hand nav is still there, but it’s not a separate nav item, rather it’s a part of the nav and appears as a drop down at the very bottom of the new client.

For comparison here’s what the old client looks like:

New Features

The new option to create Email, SMS or Instant Messages is a neat one and comes along with a new composition box that appears within the browser. The box can be moved or floated within the body of the browser making it very interactive.

All in all this is a nice update from the old client which although it was new, still felt a little dated. Users can skin the email client quickly creating a more personal feel to the entire “messaging” experience. It’ll be interesting to see how long Yahoo! will support not only the current release, but essentially all three of these email clients.

Cheers!
-Len Shneyder
Sr. Product Marketing Mgr.
IBM | Unica | Pivotal Veracity

Comments

  1. A reader

    The question is, will Yahoo! continue to support Classic and the current version? Will they have users with *three* different versions of Yahoo! Mail? Or, will they finally get everyone on the same one?

  2. Brian

    It appears Yahoo’s auto-linking of copy has been removed! No more hacks to work around that. Also appears there is no more yshortcuts class on links. But they are changing the colors still. Looks like we still have to roll tags inside our tags.

  3. Chuck

    This little blurb from Yahoo! about Mail Beta stopped me from upgrading:
    “Yahoo! now automatically identifies items such as words, links, people, and subjects from your email to learn what matters to you so that we can deliver exciting new product features and relevant ads.”

    Is this new? Yahoo! is going to word-search my personal emails? Do other email clients do this?

  4. Len Shneyder

    Hi Chuck, yes other email clients do this. Google serves up ads based on the content of your email in Gmail. Old Yahoo! clients are auto-hyperlinking words in the body of received emails and linking them to things such as wikipedia and other forms of advertisement. This has become fairly standard.

    Brian, as for auto-linking, this feature will come back. I heard it’s been disabled temporarily but it will be part of the new mail client at some point.

    Best,
    -L

  5. mark

    the removal of the calendar bar is a disaster, that they still haven’t addressed, anfd you barely mention it. How can you give so little coverage to the removal of a function a vast majority of users loved. if you want a mashup of apps on one screen why make the user go to a separate window for calendar functions.

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