MSN, Yahoo Swap Navigation Schemes

    February 17, 2006
    WebProNews Staff

MSN Search had the drop-down menu next to its search box, while Yahoo placed tabs over its search box for users to select the type of search; now each has adopted the other’s scheme, partially.

Yahoo recently updated the look of its home page, with the all important search box at the top losing the tabs for different types of searches in favor of a single drop-down box containing options for searching in audio, images, video, and other Yahoo indexes.

But Yahoo kept the various search options atop the search box on its main search page. Those who wander over to MSN Search will see a similar look, a combination of Yahoo’s simplified search page and the new Windows Live home page.

Both sites made changes to better serve their users. Yahoo’s changes remove some of the clutter from its home page. MSN Search’s tweaks make a little more use of the screen’s real estate, widening the search box and its options out of what had been a cramped little blue rectangle in the middle of the page.

MSN added some options to its search, through a Search Builder option beneath the search box. Clicking it opens an Ajax-powered window with six advanced search options for the user. “Search terms” lets users add terms to the search, one at a time, with conditions like all of those terms, any of the terms, the exact phrase, or none of the terms.

Other options can add or exclude a site or domain from the search; find links to a URL; or add multiple countries and/or languages to limit results to those selections.

The final option, Results Ranking, provides three sliders users can adjust to alter the weight given to certain search factors. One slider lets the user adjust the weight given to sites based on how frequently they were updated.

A second slider permits users to retrieve results based on the popularity they have, as judged by the number of inbound links to sites in those results. The third slider takes precedence over the first two, by weighting the results to an exact match for the search terms.

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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.