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January 30, 2007

Suggestions for Yahoo Products

Yahoo Suggestions Board is an interesting way to get feedback for Yahoo products. Users can submit ideas and vote for their favorite suggestions, while Yahoo employees constantly monitor this space and review the suggestions. For example, the most popular suggestion for Yahoo Answers is: Let me search within my own Q&A.

Google also has pages where you can vote suggestions for Gmail and Google Talk, but it would be nice to make the process more interactive and to expand it to all Google services.

Of course, the downside of a suggestion board is that companies could feel pressured to implement very popular suggestions, even though they have a different vision. And even though users might not know what they really want:

[Marissa Mayer talks about speed in web applications (in this case, Google search)]

The ideal number of results on the first page was an area where self-reported user interests were at odds with their ultimate desires. Though they did want more results, they weren't willing to pay the price for the trade, the extra time in receiving and reviewing the data. In experiments, each run for about 8 weeks, results pages with 30 (rather than 10) results lowered search traffic (and proportionally ad revenues) by 20 percent.

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