I have had an email account on Yahoo for years. Probably since not long after it was first offered to customers. The site has not really changed much over the years. That is until recently. Now they are beta testing a new version of the site. A couple of days ago, they finally gave me access to the beta, so I thought I'd give my thoughts on it.
First of all, I gotta say that the technology of this web site is impressive. All this new Ajax stuff is really leading to some impressive web sites. Ajax makes all the old style web sites look very plain. The new Yahoo Mail Beta makes heavy use of this type of technology.
What I like about it is that it is very 'Outlook-like'. It shows a list of the email folders on the left, the email headers on the top right, and a preview of the email message on the bottom right. This is the same way Outlook and many other 'real' email programs work. It all works very well. It's practically indistiguishable from those programs. There is just one problem that REALLY annoys me and in my opinion ruins this awesome new site.
That problem is advertising. Now I understand the need for advertising. Someone has to pay for all that hardware, bandwidth etc. so that we can all get this free service. The problem is that I think Yahoo is way overdoing the advertising. It's bothered me for a long time about the huge ads that Yahoo places on Yahoo Mail. It seems like those ads take up half the size of the damn browser window! That is way too big and intrusive. With the Yahoo Mail Beta, the ads aren't as wide, but they are a lot longer. There is a large ad that runs down the entire right side of the browser window. This add is ALWAYS there. This has the side effect of taking up way too much browser screen space. When you add this space-waster in with the folder view, the message view, and the email preview, there is no space left on the screen to read the damn message! It's getting ridiculous when maybe 25% or less of the window is actually the email. That is way to much screen clutter. I also tend to have a sidebar open at all times on my Firefox for Sage RSS feeds, so that leaves very little space left on the screen for the email, even on a 1280x1024 screen!