Google has redesigned YouTube’s video page interface because it has become “cluttered and a little overwhelming” by Google’s own admission.
The revamping comes after 10 months of planning and the new layout isn’t yet the default interface: YouTube users have to opt in to the new layout, Google said in an official blog posting.
“We’re excited to unveil the first major example of our efforts to simplify and streamline the video page to offer the best possible watching experience to you,” wrote Julian Frumar, user experience designer, and Igor Kofman, software engineer.
The makeover aims primarily to make the video clip 'the star' of the page by consolidating other elements and moving them out of the way.
The section with suggestions for other videos to watch will now be populated according to how the user found the video they’re watching. For example, if it was through a search, the suggestions list will feature the other search results, but if it was through a playlist or recommendation, then the list will be populated with the other playlist or recommendation items.
A brief, basic clip description and viewing statistics are now underneath the video, and users can expand both sections to see more information by clicking on a link.
Google also did away with the five-star rating system, because most people used either a “1” or a “5” to express their opinion. The five stars have been replaced with two “Like” and “Don’t Like” buttons; clicking on “Like” automatically adds the video to the user’s favourites list. Next to the new rating buttons are buttons for other related actions, such as sharing, saving and flagging the video.
The redesign now makes it possible for users to do a YouTube search on the video page while watching a clip. The results will appear in the right-hand column of the page without interfering with the video playback.
YouTube has also added controls to change the size of the video display, for which YouTube applies what it considers the right quality of the video, while giving viewers the option to adjust quality as they please as well.