Yahoo News has launched a beta version of its massively popular news site that reaches a reported 44 million unique visitors a month. The new site has introduced a number of basic aesthetic changes (the font is slightly larger and there’s more space between text) along with some new design changes that incorporate rich media and gear the site to better serve its diverse variety of readers. To get to the new site, head to Yahoo News and hit the link at the top of the page.
Alan Warms, Yahoo’s VP GM of News, Technology, and Education, says that the site has been tweaked to allow its editors more flexibility when it comes to incorporating media like videos and photos. He also says that the site is being adjusted to give readers easier access to content: at the bottom of each article the site will now include a handful of links to related stories and popular articles, both on Yahoo and elsewhere on the web (this feature incorporates the Buzztracker technology that Yahoo acquired last year).
Yahoo will will also pay attention to where its users are coming from – if a reader comes from Digg or Yahoo Buzz, only five paragraphs of their news stories will be shown initially, with the related links prominently featured (Yahoo figures that these readers are more likely to click through to new stories, and are less concerned with reading the full article). Readers who visit Yahoo News directly will be shown the full articles by default, and there will be an option for all readers to automatically show full articles.
Because of Yahoo’s massive amount of traffic it has to be careful whenever it institutes a new design, so the site may remain in beta for some time. Last month the site launched a new home page for the first time in over a year.