This new look&feel of Yahoo! Shopping US is mostly a redesign of the site header and the site background. I can imagine the first motivation for this redesign is to unify the header with the other Yahoo! properties. This new “universal header” now shared by most of the Yahoo! sites (i.e: Yahoo! News, Yahoo! Movies, Yahoo! Real Estate…) makes it easier to navigate on Yahoo!’s starting points : homepage, My Yahoo!, mail, web search, profile… At last, Yahoo! is consolidating the user experience of all its verticals; and the “universal header” appears as a first initiative to leverage the network effect between all those verticals.
The new header brings tabs back to easily drive users to the main domains (Clothing, Electronics, Computers, Home&Garden); there is also a tab for the recently launched Yahoo! Deals, and for seasonal events (currently Valentine’s day). The latest would be more visible with a visual differenciation.
Overall, this may seem a minor update of Yahoo! Shopping ; but I find it is a nice evolution over the previous design that gives a stronger identity (blue rules :) ) to the site.
The homepage of Yahoo! Shopping US in 2008:
The new homepage introduced in 2009: