Yahoo! 'Accordion' Search Page to Help Users Stay 'Entertained'
The new search page, which went live today, certainly stands in stark contrast to Google's comparatively spartan layout. Although most search topics won't be affected immediately, Yahoo! users searching for musicians, celebrities or actors will notice a new format that the company calls 'accordion module.' Instead of seeing a long list of results, Yahoo users looking for information on their favorite celebrities will now see a new 'Overview' box at the top of their results pages. Here, search topics are divided into separate categories: Web pages, images, videos, events and Twitter feeds -- all of which are listed in a vertical menu on the right hand side of the box.
Unlike Google, which positions itself primarily as a conduit to other pages, Yahoo!'s new search page seems explicitly designed to keep users on the company's site. "Our goal is to try and fulfill the user's needs directly on the search page," Shashi Seth, Yahoo!'s senior-VP of search, tells AdAge. "Click on one button and not make it disruptive at all." Yahoo! also says its page will offer new opportunities for advertisers to market their products by choosing to sponsor entire search topics, events or images.
Some, however, question Yahoo!'s decision to keep more users on its platform, instead of serving exclusively as an intermediary. Kevin Ryan, head of Motivity Marketing, told AdAge, "A search engine's object is to deliver relevant results and move the searcher to their destination. Any time you start to create a destination with a search results page by cluttering it up and encouraging users to stick around ... that's bad for the search site, revenue generation and the company's shareholders."
The design, at first glance, looks pretty clumsy, jumbled and, frankly, confusing. Most gossip sites feature a similarly bombastic, media-heavy layout, geared toward a younger, multi-tasking generation with a penchant for eye candy. We don't know if the layout would make sense for, say, searches related to politics, but creating a separate portal for traditionally "light" Web fare may help the company lure in one demographic, at least.