YouTube Overhauls User Interface for Browsing Videos

YouTube Overhauls User Interface for Browsing Videos

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YouTube has rather quietly rolled out a new interface/design to the Browse section of the site, and it’s a pretty big improvement in my mind—but I’ve been known to complain about Browse before.  I usually spend a good chunk of time Thursday or Friday of every week browsing YouTube—trying to find good examples of viral success for my weekly Round Up column.  And as of last Friday, it was still showing the old interface.  Today… the new one.  I’m not sure exactly when it changed, and I can’t find any news articles or releases about it.  It’s possible this rolled out a while back and I’m only just now seeing it for some reason.

Here’s a screenshot of how browse used to look:

And now here’s what you get:

And scrolling down a bit on that same page, you’ll see this:

So What’s New?

Instead of a gray navigation menu on the left side for genre, you now see the videos laid out down the page, grouped by genre—with a few samples of popular videos for each.  On the right sidebar, there are links to music videos, web shows, full movies, and rentals.

If you click on “Videos/All Categories” at the top, the list of genres will slide down with a cool little JavaScript effect.

There are also three featured videos, with larger thumbnails, across the top.

When you click on the first category, Most Viewed, you’ll see a new “results” page that lists videos one by one, in a single file vertical line.  You can filter these results, just as you used to, using the buttons just above the first listing.  You can change Most Viewed to Most Subscribed or Most Liked—that’s a tiny alteration, as the choices used to be limited to Most Viewed and Most Popular.  And you can filter by Today, This Week, This Month, or All Time.

Sadly, you can still only get about 100 results, but they’re now just spread out 10-per-page over 10 pages, instead of 20-per-page over five pages.  I’m still not sure what the logic is in cutting off the results at 100, and it’s kind of annoying.

So ultimately, the content of the Browse section is the same… it’s just presented in a very different manner.  What do you think?  Is this an improvement or a step backwards?  Do you even use YouTube’s Browse function?  Am I the first one to notice this, or so late to the party that it just seems that way?

I continue to be impressed at how frequently YouTube makes major changes to their design, player, layout, and functionality.  A site that changes regularly, despite its immense popularity, is a site that is truly dedicated to improving the user experience.


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