If It Ain't Broke

I used to go to Yahoo! Finance for my market updates.  I could get a quick update in the middle of the day and then check it again after close.  It would show me the major stock market indexes of the U.S., the 10-year yield, the gold price, and the oil price.  It also showed me quotes of the last 10 stocks (or ETFs and mutual funds) that I had searched.

I didn't really go to Yahoo! Finance for the articles, but I would occasionally click on something that caught my eye.  The site basically gave me what I was looking for.

Since it was working well for me, the company decided to revamp its site.  It changed quite a bit.  The 10-year yield doesn't show up.  I'm guessing you can find it somewhere, but I'm not really in the mood for searching.  Sometimes, the U.S. markets don't even show up unless I click away from Asia or Europe to find the U.S.

That is just on my computer.  It gets far worse on my smartphone.  Like so many websites, the site designers make the mobile site far different and far less user friendly.  I used to get the last 10 stock quotes.  These are nowhere to be found on my mobile device.  I scroll down and I just get an endless list of article headlines.  It is almost completely useless.

Why would a company do such thing?  It is absolutely foolish.

I have been back to the site a few times to see if it has been "fixed".  If I find something I like better, I will probably not go back anymore.  At this point, it won't be hard to find something better.

Even if Yahoo! Finance does revert back to its past form, it may be too late.  I might not check back to see.  I might even find something I like better than the Yahoo site in its previous form.  The longer the company waits to change back, the more visitors it will lose.

This is a good life lesson and a good business lesson.  The saying is, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it."  It amazes me how many people ignore this simple advice.  Why would you change something that is already working?  Wouldn't you at least do extensive marketing research first?  I guarantee you that Yahoo! Finance did not go out and survey 500 customers to see if they liked the new site better before launching it for everyone.  The customers are what count and Yahoo ignored them.

Ironically, it was just a few years ago that I used Yahoo as my search engine.  I had several days in a row where it was slow.  I would type in a search and the letters and words would have a delay from my typing.  I tried Google and did not have the same problem.  I went back to Yahoo for a few days and it was still giving me problems.  I have used Google for my searches ever since.

I was not very forgiving as a customer.  I assume most people are the same way.  You are not going to keep going back to a site that isn't working for you if there is a perfectly good substitute that is working.

An important phrase is, "first, do no harm", often attributed to the Hippocratic Oath for doctors.  This should have been Yahoo's motto, but it ignored it.  It tried to make its finance website fancier and only made it less user friendly.

This reminds me of a struggling football team that fires the quarterback or head coach.  The problem though was really the wide receivers or offensive line.  By firing the wrong person, the team gets even worse.

If things are working well, why change them?  If they need improvement, it doesn't mean that drastic changes necessarily have to be made.  Make a small change and see if people like it.  This is important in almost any business and is not exclusive to websites.