Yahoo Mail Users Hate "Gorgeous" Redesign, Can't Find the Print Button

Future Tense
The Citizen's Guide to the Future
Oct. 14 2013 5:04 PM

Yahoo Mail Users Hate "Gorgeous" Redesign, Can't Find the Print Button

New Yahoo mail

Screenshot /

Critics agree: The new, redesigned Yahoo Mail is gorgeous. In true Marissa Mayer fashion, the company gave its email service a minimalist makeover last week, stripping away unfashionable features like tabs and the “print” button in favor of a sleek layout that looks … well, an awful lot like Gmail. And, following the success of Yahoo’s slick mobile weather app, the Yahoo Mail inbox can now be set against dramatic photographic backdrops pulled from Flickr. What’s not to like?

Will Oremus Will Oremus

Will Oremus is Slate's senior technology writer.

There’s just one, little problem: Users do not like the redesign. In fact, a lot of them can't stand it.


As ZDNet’s Violet Blue points out, a Yahoo user forum page inviting users to share their thoughts on the new look has been flooded with tens of thousands of complaints, from exasperated reports of recurring technical bugs to impassioned pleas to bring back key functions that were swept aside in the overhaul. A comment titled “Please Bring Back Tabs” has 26,925 votes and counting. One calling for the reinstatement of the “sort-by-sender” option has 7,997. More than 8,000 people have voted for a comment titled, “What the heck has happened to Yahoo Mail?”, from a user who complains, “I can’t even find a print button anywhere to print an email.”

The backlash has boiled over into a petition calling on Marissa Mayer to bring back the old version of Yahoo Mail. As of Monday afternoon, the petition has more than 1,000 signatures.

Funny thing: It turns out that if Yahoo Mail users had wanted their email to look like Gmail, they would have just used Gmail.

Every redesign has its noisy detractors, of course. It’s possible that there’s a silent majority of users out there sighing with contentment as they sift through their messages against the backdrop of a gauzy image of the Guadiana Bridge at sunrise. But the guess here is that, in their zeal to reinvigorate the Yahoo brand, Mayer and company underestimated the number of loyal Yahoo Mail users who care more about the “print” button than they do about a trendy aesthetic and a dancing exclamation point. The armada of technical glitches, meanwhile, is hard to excuse in a company Yahoo’s size.

On the whole, Mayer has done wonders in her first year-plus to enliven a company that had been staring at a long slide toward obsolescence. But she faces a dilemma as she tries to lure new users to a business full of old users who never left—probably because they prefer the familiar to the new and trendy. If these loyal Yahoos sense that the company has begun to sacrifice function for form, they may bolt faster than it can bring in hip new users to replace them.

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.


The Slatest

Ben Bradlee Dead at 93

The legendary Washington Post editor presided over the paper’s Watergate coverage.

This Scene From All The President’s Men Captures Ben Bradlee’s Genius

Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Whole Foods Is Desperate for Customers to Feel Warm and Fuzzy Again

The XX Factor

I’m 25. I Have $250.03.

My doctors want me to freeze my eggs.

The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I’m 25. I Have $250.03. My doctors want me to freeze my eggs.

Forget Oculus Rift

This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.

George Tiller’s Murderer Threatens Another Abortion Provider, Claims Free Speech

The Congressional Republican Digging Through Scientists’ Grant Proposals

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 21 2014 3:13 PM Why Countries Make Human Rights Pledges They Have No Intention of Honoring
Oct. 21 2014 5:57 PM Soda and Fries Have Lost Their Charm for Both Consumers and Investors
The Vault
Oct. 21 2014 2:23 PM A Data-Packed Map of American Immigration in 1903
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 21 2014 3:03 PM Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 21 2014 1:02 PM Where Are Slate Plus Members From? This Weird Cartogram Explains. A weird-looking cartogram of Slate Plus memberships by state.
Brow Beat
Oct. 21 2014 9:42 PM The All The President’s Men Scene That Perfectly Captured Ben Bradlee’s Genius
Oct. 21 2014 5:38 PM Justified Paranoia Citizenfour offers a look into the mind of Edward Snowden.
  Health & Science
Climate Desk
Oct. 21 2014 11:53 AM Taking Research for Granted Texas Republican Lamar Smith continues his crusade against independence in science.
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.