Yesterday, December 1, at 4:30 pm, YouTube launched its redesign across all platforms, making it available to everyone. Some minor updates were made, such as changing the background of the site from white to light gray and adding more integration with Google+, which was to be expected as Google is YouTube’s parent company. But more than anything else, this redesign was all about emphasizing YouTube’s channels, and putting the streaming video company in a position to rival TV as the main source of video entertainment in homes.
The redesign is all about getting people to use the YouTube homepage as a launchpad, instead of sending and receiving links to the videos directly. People have been able to subscribe to different uploaders’ channels for years, but it has never been this easy to access them all. Users can see the most recently uploaded videos from the channels they’ve subscribed to by clicking on that channel on the left side of the screen. Up to ten subscriptions can be pinned to the left side of the homepage for easy access, and any others can be viewed by clicking on the ‘see all’ button below the first ten. Under the ‘From YouTube’ tab, still on the left side of the homepage, people can click on the ‘Trending’ and ‘Popular’ tabs to see the hot new videos that are being linked around the Internet at that very moment. With these, YouTube is hoping that people will find the newest videos on their own without having to wait for a buddy to link to it on Facebook. In other words, finding the next Rebecca Black has never been simpler. YouTube is also offering video channels for specific categories on the home page, such as music, comedy and sports.
One suggestion for YouTube’s redesign: there needs to be a way to play the videos from these channels on the homepage, instead of constantly being redirected. Each time a user clicks on one of the videos from these channels, they’re sent to a different YouTube page altogether. There’s no way to get back to the homepage without clicking on the YouTube logo and scrolling through the channels again. There should be a way to watch those videos within the homepage, which would make selecting other videos from the subscribed channels far easier. YouTube has been the master of embedding their videos on different sites for years; there’s no good reason why this feature isn’t feasible.
With this new design YouTube is aiming to recreate online how people channel surf with their TV remotes. YouTube has already been the destination for users that are looking for something specific to watch and send to their friends. But with all of these channel options, the goal is to get people to go on YouTube without a link in hand from a friend or a specific video in mind to watch. If this design works, people will go on YouTube and make their own discoveries, much like they would while watching TV and getting hooked on a six hour marathon of Extreme Couponing. YouTube has given us the tools to make that happen.