So YouTube has made some changes. What? You haven’t noticed? Well let’s go through a quick look at what’s new.
They have been doing some serious work to rearrange things on the site into a more ergonomic setup. From the simplest of things, like channel subscriptions to more complex things like sharing, embedding and linking. It’s all getting a quick shuffle to make it easier to manage.
According to the help page for the new look YouTube had a specific goal in mind with the redesign:
The overreaching goal of the video page redesign is simplification and ease of use. Videos are the main focus of YouTube, but over time the “stuff” surrounding each video (actions, comments, stats, more videos, etc.) cluttered the essential experience. This redesign is about going “back to basics”, re-focusing attention on what you came to YouTube for — the video! — and bringing order and clarity to the actions around it.:
How to Access the Redesign
You might not notice the changes, which is probably because you haven’t opted-in to see them. But if you then go to another video page manually it seems to get lost. We did some testing and you can build your own links with the new interface but you have to do it manually. You can see the variables necessary in this link – http://youtube.com/watch5?enable=1&next_url=/watch?v=jqxENMKaeCU This was determined by looking at the so-called opt-out link http://youtube.com/watch5?enable=0&next_url=/watch?v?jqxENMKaeCU. It appears that these changes have not yet trickled down to channel pages but only on single video pages.
Changes to the Video Landing Page
What they have tried to do is shift the focus onto the video itself and away from the interface. They pared it down so the video is now the dominant thing on the page and not the player, as it was in the past. It also gives easier access to the more advanced features.
One of the most noticeable things is going to be the fact that they took the linking, embed code and sharing and moved it below the video making it more cohesive and bringing the list of related and featured videos up to even with the top of the video being watched.
YouTube has also changed the video listings and instead of just related videos they are putting things like the rest of your search results (if that is how you arrived on the page) in there along with playlists and recommendations. If you arrived at a video’s page through one of them – the rest of the playlist or other recommendations will show up in the right side video list.
All the stats and information that was previously spread around the video and player has now been consolidated into that aforementioned area below the video itself. Descriptions, views, sharing are all there and comments have been moved up to become a more prominent part of the video’s information. Additionally they have done away with the star rating system and simply gone to a “like/thumbs down” system which will definitely affect how people find videos in the “most popular” category. They stated that the 1 and 5 were only ever used and so a binary version seemed logical. The paring that they’ve done has really consolidated things into a logical area and cleans up the interface which was previously cluttered and distributed.
Another major change is the fact that you can search within the page to get the results. That means while a video is playing you can start looking for your next viewing choice if you’re not interested in what’s in the Up Next list (previously discussed above as the contextual list of other videos).
Lastly, they moved the channel name and subscribe buttons and added a “see more videos” feature. Since many channels are driven by subscribers they felt it important to be able to readily subscribe and moved that to the top of the page, near the title. The see more video button will give a horizontal listing of all of the other videos in the channel or uploaded by the person who uploaded your current viewing choice. It’s fairly non-invasive when open and doesn’t detract from the video itself for the more part (see photo on right).
This is a great improvement over previous iterations of the page which had this information in less than logical positions. Now you have a very logical progression down the page:
- Video name and channel/uploader information
- Search and upcoming video listings
- Video information, sharing and comments
Changes to the Video Player
Other new features include a change to the player sizing and quality controls. They are now integrated in the lower portion of the player on the same bar as the duration and sound. In fact almost all video controls have been slid down there. The redesign of course lets you choose all the way up to 1080p now as well as captions, annotations, etc.
That’s a Wrap
It is certainly more spartan and far cleaner than the previous version and hopefully they will start rolling this out to both video pages and channels very soon. A well done set of improvements on YouTube’s part from the looks of things. It should be much easier for users to discover other videos from the same person as well as find all the information they need about specific videos.
Another welcome change in my book… Good job YouTube.