I agree with Christina. MyWay's design rips off Yahoo! very closely. It looks like some strange Yahoo!/Google mutation. But that doesn't mean I'm not going to demo the hell out of it. Maybe I'll sign up for email there so i can spread around my Spam filled inboxes across different servers.

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don't agree

I don't agree. I don't think they use their interface elements or combine them in ways that are too close to Yahoo's design. On a more general note: Yahoo uses (and helped define) very general interface design patterns, are you suggesting they somehow "own" those? Does Amazon own tabs?

ownage & swooshage

I don't think Mike was asserting that Yahoo owns the design (I could be wrong) but that MyWay is sort of "apeing" Yahoo's look & feel.

Now, if I were a feisty new-media lawyer, I might tangle with someone about it in the more legal sense, but I'm not.

My only problem with MyWay is that hideous swoosh-logo. Are they kidding? How much more generic could they possibly be? It makes me think "discount airline" or "freshman design project that got a C-"

Anyway... hell if it works, more power to 'em.

andrew hinton ::

Ownership smownership

Perhaps I should clarify a bit more. MyWay rips off, almost identically, the design and interaction of MyYahoo! and Yahoo! Mail in a way that is so identical that it feels like plagiarism. But I don't think Yahoo! can lay claim to the presentation of a portal or mail program, although I would think they might have some rights in that area. Most My Yahoo! type portals look pretty much the same. My argument we be more along the lines of, "Why would you want to copy someone else's design so identically?" I hear the claims of pattern design and the advantages of user expectation of page objects/elements. I agree to some extent. But churning out boilerplate web sites is so boring and uninnovative. There is no reason to do it it my opinion, even with the promise of not slapping ads on the page.

intent: theft. makes it very clear their intent is to be an addless Yahoo!-- and make off with the profits. So they are basically benefiting from Yahoo!'s work as a design innovator and since they don't have to maintain the overhead of designers and people who provide content... they can go slim. it's dirty.

Design Standards and Innovators

I also don't agree with Christina or Mike.

Isn't this what the usability gurus preach? Be consistent and stick to platform standards? Essentially "standardless", new comers to the web follow the innovators. And Yahoo! is truly an innovator. What do they expect - that no one will copy them in any way? There are alread lots of sites that copy Yahoo! to some degree. Setting a limit a what is copying and what is not copying is nearly impossible.

But MyWay will always be the copy of the real thing, if we see it as a copy at all. For example, Vanilla Ice sampled Queen-David Bowie's "Under Pressure" and added an extra "ding" in the main rhythm. Litigation ensued, the case was settled and quickly forgotten about as his fame wanned rapidly. (If you saw the interview on MTV you know how ridiculous he looked in the end.) At this point, I'm gonna say the MyWay is Yahoo!'s Vanilla Ice. Let's not subscribe to alarmist buffoonery.

Did Teoma rip off Google? Did Barnes-and-Noble rip off Amazon? I don't think so. (As if every thing *you* develop is original or creative or changes the world...)

Maybe we should sue Jakob Nielsen for preaching consistency?

Jim Kalbach


Perhaps the only innovative thing about MyWay is summoning back to a time when there were no advertisements on websites. I remember using WebCrawler as my first search circa 1994? As I said earlier, I understand that people (esp. usability gurus) are going to advocate that we place elements of a page in the same place because of how conventions relate to user expectations. I don't disagree with that in general. Yahoo! and Amazon designs have proliferated on the web over the years probably for this reason. I also understand what you're saying about nothing being original. But I'm saying generally, that if designers plagiarize so closely and don't make an effort to innovate when innovation is called for, the pattern becomes so much an accepted way of designing that better alternatives become hard to accept or hard to advocate on the behalf of clients. That's just a theory I'm working on, of course.

Think about this the left-handed navigation vs. your right-handed Audi navigation. That alteration of placement is innovative because it is non-conventional. You c ite considerable reasons for making that decision. It is that type of willingness to break with convention when appropriate that I'm advocating. With regard to design plagiarism, there is just something about MyWay that is so close to Yahoo!. If you take a look at MyWay's portal or mail, you will notice that the designs do summon back to earlier Yahoo! layouts and user flow. But I don't really care that it is copied so closely. I just wonder why anyone would want to do it when it's already been done ad infinitum. Aren't most of us banner blind anyway? Personally, after demoing MyWay for a day, I find no reason to return. Yahoo!'s services (Mail and MyYahoo!) just appear to be more configurable.