(Palo Alto, CA) – After joining forces with Yahoo! last November, Micah Laaker announced visible elements of his work are available for public consumption on the popular website, as well as a change in position.
“Today marks a great step forward for users of the ‘World Wide Web,'” stated Laaker. “Yahoo! has provided users with more than 10 years of great free content and services. But today, some of those great free products and services now proudly carry a ‘Made in the USA by the double A’ sticker… even if that sticker isn’t actually on said products and services.”
Responding to questioning that the “double A” referenced in the sticker slogan suggested that recovering drunks were being employed by Yahoo!, Mr. Laaker refused further statements, instead encouraging all to check out his latest creations:
- My Yahoo! Dashboard widget
Mac OS X 10.4 “Tiger” users are now (for the first time ever) able to view the most recent collective headlines from all their My Yahoo! subscribed RSS feeds in Apple’s new Dashboard environment. The widget, designed by Laaker, also allows checking of Yahoo! mail and initiation of Yahoo! searches. (Apple subsequently named the widget their Featured Download for May 13th.)
- Network-wide Default Location and Location Preferences
Users of Yahoo! Local Search will now be able to set a network-wide Default location on their computer, thus allowing any location field to pre-populate with their chosen locale. They can also engage a re-designed drop-down widget next to each location field to access recent and saved locations, as well as manage and save their preferred locations on a Location Preferences page.
- New My Yahoo! Feed Addition Process
Reducing the complexity of adding feeds to My Yahoo! from non-Yahoo! sources required some re-engineering of the process. Thankfuly, by simplifying the number of steps required for non-My Yahoo! users to sign up and add their selected content, this effort should significantly reduce new user frustration. (I rearchitected the page shown in this link, too, to better focus on the call-to-action and reduce the visual competition.)
Laaker also noted that he was moving from the My Yahoo! product team into the role of Design Manager for the newly-formed Personalization Products Group. Under the auspices of this group, Laaker would be responsible for managing the user experience components of network-wide personalization and content sharing/subscription/management.