It’s a grand, sweeping claim, but Yahoo thinks they’ve “redefined what it means to surf the web”; specifically in relation to the way we search and browse. At the moment, if I want to search for something, I head to my favourite search engine and then type a few search terms into my search bar. The search engine returns my results and I have to scan keywords to determine which site will be most useful to me. I then click on the link and I’m taken to a new page where I have to find the information I’m looking for.
On Yahoo! Axis, I type my search terms into the bar as usual and, just like Google Instant, it starts to generate search results based on predictions – but this is where the similarities end. Yahoo! Axis removes the link scanning aspect by making the entire process more visual. Rather than returning a page with URLs and snippets, I’m presented with popular search terms to the left, and thumbnails of webpage search results which I can scroll through to find the right content.
It may seem odd to use this type of search on a regular computer, but as we migrate over to tablets and mobile devices, it’s easy to see how this particular interface would be a delight to use. Granted, when I tested this out, I did find it rather slow and laggy, but this is more likely to be down to the age of my computer.
What will this mean for SEO?
Already we can see major problems on the horizon if this type of search were to become popular. The users decision to click on a site would no longer be based on a meta description, but would instead be determined by the website meeting the visual expectations of the user. Web design would be just as vital as content. However, it’s important to remember that this is only a front-end design update, and the behind the scenes search would still function in the same way.