YouTube have this week revealed an insight into a possible redesign of their website. I occasionally get these early redesign surprises because I opted in to trial Google products and updates somewhere along the line of signing up for my Google account – yes, that’s how much I love them.
The latest redesign is clean, more bright and slightly more minimalistic. Everything seems a little more compact. I was just beginning to get used to the last version of the homepage though, to be honest (which there was nothing wrong with). I suppose if I were to put myself in their position, having such a large website, I don’t think you could ever settle for a final design.
It might be just a temporary “feature” but currently the page is aligned to the left, leaving a large empty space on the right of the page, even larger if you have a 23” monitor like myself. I almost feel like there’s a gravitational imbalance when I look at the page. When your balance starts being affected by what you see on your monitor, you either spend too much time on the internet or have some sort of design related OCD.
On the video pages, aside from still having a large blank space to the right, we do have some improvements. The actual video player has changed so that when you are on a playlist, the forward, backward and shuffle controls are at the top of the player itself, rather than where it used to be taking up valuable screen space at the bottom of the page. That was probably the biggest issue I had with YouTube, my design related OCD coming through again I think. One further improvement I would ask for is that YT add a repeat button, hopefully an employee will see this.
As well as the playlist controls, there are also some playback transition improvements. When you change the player size, from small to large and vice versa, the page re-adjusts and the related videos at the side of the screen slide down the page to make room for the new player size. There also seems to have been an improvement made when transitioning through different video qualities, 720p to 1080p for example – the player no longer pauses to load when changing quality. Either that or Virgin Media have upgraded my internet connection.
The last addition that I can see is that avatars are now shown in user comments and also that the comments are now more threaded, making it easier to see who replied to who, hopefully.
All in all, the functional improvements have been great, but the actual design needs a bit of a polish before rolling the design out to everyone.
The #youtubedesign hashtag seems to be in effect on twitter if you want to keep up to date with things.