YouTube appears to be testing out a new design. It’s certainly not the massive One Channel overhaul the world’s largest video sharing site started to roll out to all users in March 2013. It consists more of subtle aesthetic changes that, like the user interface changes before it, are undoubtedly meant to increase engagement.
Observant consumer of YouTube Jordan Rodkey tipped us off to the changes, which make the YouTube desktop browser experience more akin to the YouTube mobile viewing experience. That is, it feels more streamlined, less cluttered, and a touch easier to navigate.
Specifically, what makes this design different from all others are at least four main features.
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1) The homepage is far less crowded. There’s now only a maximum of three videos visible on screen for every row of videos displayed. In the current YouTube, the number of videos expands with the width of your screen. On this new test design, the number of videos seems to stay put at three. It creates less clutter and narrows a viewer’s focus.
2) Users can hide and expand the Guide section on any page. Currently, users can only hide the Guide section on the left-hand sidebar while watching a video. But in this test design, users can hide the Guide anywhere on YouTube. Again, this narrows an individual’s focus and makes the page far more clean.
3) There’s Center Navigation for What To Watch and My Subscriptions. Users with access to the test design can now easily toggle between the two displays without having to open their entire Guide.
4) Settings and Upload buttons always accessible on the right sidebar. Perhaps in a bid to get you users upload more videos, YouTube has made access to the Upload and Settings section of the site way easier.
All that plus some shades of grey in the background as opposed to a bright white are what differentiate this test design from the current YouTube. Of course, there’s no telling if this UI will ever be part of a fully-fledged rollout to all users. YouTube, like all other Google products, is the subject of constant tests in order to increase its efficiency and usability. Some of the features tested stick and some don’t, but judging by the initial screenshots of this latest iteration, we hope this version of YouTube gets at least a wide enough rollout where we’ll be able to give it a spin.
Do you have access to the test YouTube layout? If so, be sure to tell us what you think in the comments below.
Screenshots courtesy of Jordan Rodkey.