Yahoo Groups

Redesigning a Community Portal

Leadership · Research · Design · Prototyping · Systems

Yahoo Groups, a widely used platform with 14 million groups, 100 million members, and 18 billion monthly emails, was in need of a major redesign in 2012. The product had faced challenges such as outdated UI, declining user engagement, and a lack of mobile accessibility. This case study outlines the objectives, design approach, and outcomes of the redesign effort. I was the lead designer on the project.


Vision To become the most preferred destination for both online and real-world groups for self-expression, communication, collaboration and sharing.

Business Goals The business goals encompass preserving and expanding the user base, enhancing web user engagement, attracting new groups and users, and cross-promoting Y! content.

Current Problems The current product faces challenges related to its outdated user interface, inconsistent navigation, views, and calls to action, a lack of established information hierarchy models, variability in page layouts, and a notable absence of mobile accessibility for both tablets and phones.

Re-design Objectives

The redesign objectives prioritize improving user experience, including ease of use and performance, seamless integration of media within context, and ensuring consistency across email and web platforms. They also focus on future-proofing with plans for dynamic groups and V-Next, promoting Yahoo content, maintaining fluidity across devices, optimizing information density, and adopting a minimalist design while balancing familiarity with innovation.

Core Use Cases

Discover/Join Effortlessly join a new group or swiftly discover and join existing ones that align with your interests or needs.

Consumption Browse through topics and messages, discover, read and  join conversations that interest you. Find a specific topic, message, photo or file from the groups archive

Creation Easily start conversation with the group to share messages / photos/documents /files/ with the group. Create an event and invite members to attend the event, RSVP & reminders

Manage/Moderate/Monitor Add, invite or refer members to your group. Manage your group – process pending member and message approvals, change group settings and get reports on group usage and spam control 

Notifications Get instant updates from my groups - selectively join and participate in conversations. Get a summary of my group activity

Design System

The grid system, arrangement, font choices, and color scheme come together seamlessly to produce an aesthetically pleasing experience. Even as we placed a strong emphasis on usability and the amount of content, we didn't neglect the importance of a visually appealing and straightforward design strategy.

We pinpointed key actions throughout various views and consistently displayed them in both the same location and with the same visual style, ultimately facilitating a smoother learning process by enhancing uniformity.
In our pursuit of minimalistic design, we extensively employed the progressive disclosure interaction design pattern, which involves presenting information and actions across multiple steps, thus effectively diminishing cognitive burden by gradually unveiling intricate information or features as the user advances through the product's interface.

Refreshed look and feel

We chose a minimalist design with ample white space, making effective use of negative space to delineate content without the necessity of employing boxes or line separators for content organization. This resulted in a cleaner and more aesthetically pleasing appearance.

Latest Updates/Activity Feed

The redesigned layout offers a departure from the old-style appearance, resembling a page for finding articles and content, with a visually appealing and spacious design. It's an improvement that provides more information about message content, aiding in post tracking and fostering a sense of community interest.

Visualizing conversations

The threaded conversation view is a refreshing departure, allowing the user to see when somebody has replied and encouraging in-depth discussions with its visually appealing and engaging layout.

In-line content

Larger size of the pictures, their integration with the message add liveliness to the content. It makes viewing specific albums easier and more practical, serving as a visual aid and offering significant convenience.

Group statistics view

The Group Statistics view is enjoyable and offers valuable information right at your fingertips, eliminating the need for manual calculations.

Launch and Outcome

The redesigned Yahoo Groups was launched globally, resulting in positive feedback and improved user engagement. The overhaul revitalized product, with a cleaner, more intuitive design that resonated well with users. By focusing on user experience and functionality, the product successfully achieved its goals of increasing user engagement and enhancing the overall user experience.

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