Yahoo TV Redesign

I noticed this the other day. The Yahoo! TV redesign is aweful (my personal opinion, maybe some like/love it). And yes, we all know I’m a TV addict. Once upon a time I was a TVGuide.com user, but switched because it was to slow and cumbersome. Now once again I may be hunting for something better. Here are some of the problems I feel are pushing me away:

  • Need To Sign In To Get Correct Listings – Before I didn’t need to be signed in, it just saved a cookie with my prefs. This keeps my account more secure (separate sign-in) and still lets me quickly glance at my listings. I noticed for the past month or two even that wasn’t working very well. It seemed to forget my settings. Now I need to login or stay logged in (or get generic listings).
  • URL’s Should Be Forever – If they live short of that, use a redirect. The listings used to be http://tv.yahoo.com/grid it’s now http://tv.yahoo.com/listing. Breaking bookmarks is taboo on the web. Especially big pages like that which are very bookmarkable.
  • Abuse Of AJAX – It feels as if ajax was used only because it looks cool and trendy. It’s unnecessary. They should load the whole grid at once. Each section of the grid seems to be 8 -10 channels long. And one request for each section. The ajax response isn’t slim either, it’s raw html (likely inserted with innerHTML for performance reasons as DOM is typically slower). Now to scroll to channel 63, I need several of these requests. It’s slows things down despite being ajax and technically asynchronous.
  • Hard To Tune Navigation – The time navigation is hard to accurately pinpoint, making the old pulldown list of times in :30 intervals much easier to use. This is driving me nuts. I want 8:30!
  • More Clicking, Less TV Watching – Clicking on a link does this drop down effect. Only then can you get full show info (unless you open in new tab/window). 2 clicks where it used to be only 1.
  • “Info” Page Is Like A Splash Page – That info page is also very slow, unlike the old one which was very lean and fast. Rather than have upcoming episodes of the show listed as well as credits (good for seeing guest stars on The Simpsons), it’s filled with a lot of useless info (show ratings, reviews, link to buy DVD, promo photo’s, news related to the show). To get the good stuff (detailed info on show, credits, upcoming episodes)… yea all separated onto individual pages now. Lots of clicking.

I also hear of browser issues (Safari), but haven’t tested myself so I won’t go into that.

Now this doesn’t make much sense. They presumably went to ajax to make common tasks require less pageloads and increase usability and fluency of the site (click show title for more info), but instead I think it causes users to load more pages to view info they are accustomed to. The side effect on all this is that it’s slower for users who want some info on what’s on. I understand the need to monetize the pages, but at least make it worth clicking on.

Apparently they are working on things, and even addressing feedback and they deserve serious credit for that. It would be wrong to not credit them for this effort.

By the way: I wouldn’t mind turning off the “Record To TiVo” buttons. I don’t own a TiVo. Perhaps ask for the users pref when getting their TV listing info? Maybe that’s just me.

There does seem to be alternatives. TV.com and Zap2it.com as well as my employer’s site ShowBuzz (see, I do disclose relationships).

Needless to say, as a web developer and a TV addict, this redesign was very interesting from my perspective. I’ll be keeping an eye on it.

Disclaimer: Obviously, this post is my opinion only and does not in any way reflect the opinions of my employer.

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