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Thursday, June 6, 2013

1333. Yahoo changed? What happened?

Yahoo Changed! What Happened?

Carolyn asked: I’ve been using Yahoo! as my home page for years, and today when I turned on my laptop and loaded the browser, everything looked completely different. And, to be honest, Office 365 looked different today than it used to as well. Is my laptop broken?
We can’t tell you how often we get asked, usually by family members: “Suddenly, my computer looks different. Is it broken?” We always chuckle a little, because it never is. The problem is that Carolyn (and perhaps a family member) was using Web-based services, and the user interfaces for these services change regularly. Whether the user interface changed because the vendor wanted to add functionality, or whether the vendor changed the interface in order to simply “spice things up,” the changes can be confusing. The funny thing is, the day before Carolyn asked this question, Ken noticed an article in the Wall Street Journal about the user interface change—it was that big a change!

The fact is, when you rely on an online service, you can be guaranteed that sooner or later, the user interface will change. You need to be willing, at any point, to look around on the screen and locate the information you need. You don’t have any control over where Yahoo, or any other online service, puts the various bits of its online information, so it’s up to you to be flexible, and peruse the screen. We certainly know people that cannot function when a single icon on their screen changes location, much less the entire user interface.  In this case, both Yahoo and Microsoft’s Office 365 had updated their interfaces in the same week, so we guess it could appear that the computer was somehow “broken”, when, in fact, it was just progress. As you well know (and to misquote Heraclitus, that famous Greek philosopher), the only constant in the computer industry is change.

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