First it was Yahoo! Mail that swallowed the AJAX pill only to become unusably slow and now it looks like Yahoo! TV is another casualty of this annoying trend.

Dave Winer writes

Yahoo says they improved Yahoo TV, but imho, they broke it. The listings page, which until today was the only page I knew or cared about (they just added a bunch of community features) took a few seconds to load, now it's an Ajax thing, and it loads as you scroll. Great. There's a delay every time I hit Page Down. Now instead of finding out if there's anything on in seconds it takes minutes. That's an improvement? 

In his post entitled Yahoo TV Goes 2.0. Argh.Paul Kedrosky writes

Well, Yahoo in its wisdom has launched a 2.0-ified version of its TV listings tonight, complete with an Ajax-y interface, cool blue colors, social rating of programs, etc. That's all swell, and frankly I wouldn't care one way or the other (other than they broke my URL for full listings), but the darn thing is sooooo much slower than the old listings. Tables have to get populated, drop-downs have to ... drop, and sliders have to slide while data creakily loads.

It's really irritating -- so irritating, in fact, that rather then wade back in to find out what time tonight the new Frontline episode is out about credit cards, I think I'll just watch it on the Frontline site.

Seriously, who's making these decisions at Yahoo? Don't they realize that slower websites cost them money regardless of how buzzword compliant it now makes them?


Thursday, November 30, 2006 7:13:18 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
I'll bet these interfaces get written and tested internally using the LAN and they don't use WAN emulators.
Arthur Davidson Ficke
Thursday, November 30, 2006 9:38:36 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Testing the new version. 2 problems:

1. It seems slower than the previous version.

2. It resets all the options that were set in the previous version.
Things like how long to keep items, etc.


Dave Venus
Dave Venus
Thursday, November 30, 2006 10:33:07 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
The thing is Yahoo is just following what has become the common wisdom of the web which is to reduce load time at all costs. I’d direct you back to this post that you made not too long ago…

Ignoring your commentary on Ajax interfaces (which I think was spot on) Marissa Mayer’s presentation was advocating slower load times at the cost of functionality. By that standard, Yahoo is doing the right thing by not loading tons of unseen data upfront.

Now, I don’t agree with this philosophy at all but I also don’t believe Marissa Mayer when she says that Google would have a 20% drop in traffic if their search results took .4 seconds instead of .9 seconds to load.

But if that truly is the case (again, I highly doubt it) than I can’t fault Yahoo for this design change.
Thursday, November 30, 2006 10:48:57 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Reducing load times but increasing the total time it takes to get things done is a step backward in usability. Users aren't stupid and can see through tricks like that.

Friday, December 1, 2006 12:39:18 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
I agree with you and I agree that the Yahoo implementation is clunky. But if you take the position put forth by Google that is exactly what Yahoo is doing.

Look at it this way, if I’m searching for something on Google and it happens to be the 21st listing they have then it will take me 1.2 seconds (.4 x 3) to get my results as opposed to .9 seconds if Google had gone with 30 listings per page. So in 33.333…% of the cases Google will take longer to produce a result.

What Yahoo did was to load the information that most people would want to see (e.g. tonight’s tv schedule for the Major networks) and then load other items via Ajax. This is the same thing because the majority of people will get done faster (because they won’t scroll at all) while the minority who plan their viewing in advance or who watch cable networks will have to take more time.

The times are larger with Yahoo but the philosophy is the same one that Marissa Mayer was putting forth: sacrifice speed for the minority for a nominal speed increase for the majority.
Friday, December 1, 2006 12:52:43 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
The larger point, though, is that new features that improve productivity are good, and that new features that decrease productivity are bad. This holds true no matter WHAT fancy new technology/buzzword is holding sway at the moment.

Thank goodness the new "improved" Yahoo! Mail is still in beta. If they move my good old Yahoo! Mail over to the AJAXified buggy beta version permanently, I will have to ditch it for GMail. And since I have had my Yahoo! Mail address since Methuselah was in short pants, I really don't want to do that if I can help it.
Jimoh Alabi
Friday, December 1, 2006 3:17:38 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
This post really resonates with me. I was a big fan of Yahoo early in the decade, but step by step Yahoo's development is getting worse and worse. Its slow and poorly designed. Who says their mail app needs to look like MS Outlook? Part of the allure of gmail is not just the Ajax interface and speed, although that is huge. Its also the design, and the fact that I can focus on the email content, and not on "doing email". Yahoo mail feels like a framed 1997 application with drag and drop added. Drag and drop - good grief, who is asking for that?
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