You may remember that YouTube overhauled the video page design back in January and opened it up to the general public on an opt-in basis.  As Mark wrote at the time, there were a lot of changes that mostly revolved around cleaning things up and making it more intuitive for users to find the data they need.

Well, according to TechCrunch, that new design is officially switching from "you have to opt in to see it" to "you don't have a choice anymore… here comes the new design" sometime today.

While there will be many users struggling to figure out where the embed code snippet went, this will—in the long run—be a good thing.  Some of these changes are long overdue.  Some are unexpected and interesting.  But they're almost all improvements over the previous design.

YouTube Applying New UI To All Video Pages youtube makeover 2 600x541

Let's take a look again at the biggest differences:

  • Embed code and URL are now below the video, as opposed to the right side.   And they look different—they're buttons now instead of text fields.  This also results in the "related videos" sliding up further on that right sidebar, giving them more prominence.
  • The star ratings are gone.  That's as much a features change as it is a redesign, but it's worth noting.  It's been replaced by a "like" system.  (On a side note, why does it always have to be thumbs up or thumbs down?  One or the other?  Is there no in-between choice for wishy-washy people like me who can't decide if they like something or not?)
  • Comments get a bump up, moving above the fold for most resolutions.  (Because we all just can't wait to start reading those YouTube comments!!)
  • There are swanky little share buttons now, instead of simple text links for Facebook and MySpace.
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There are many other tiny changes—other things you're used to that are now in different places.  YouTube, in fact, says this is the single largest overhaul of their design in history.

Along with the new look, there are some other new features as well.  For instance, YouTube says the suggested videos on the right will be smarter—taking into account the methods you used to find the original video.  That sounds pretty cool.  There are also new controls for video size and quality.  And you can also search from within the page while your video is playing without interrupting it—which is maybe my favorite of all the changes.

A lot of major sites will do a redesign simply because they feel like they are expected to redesign.  YouTube, in this instance, appears to have gone about this change very intentionally, with solid usability reasons behind every single design change.  I'm still getting the old design, so it hasn't switched over yet, but it will apparently happen unilaterally sometime later today.

  • seobro

    I gave you five star, but sadly Google got rid of it's five star rating system which was a good service. I mean a good quality video is typically a 4.9 versus a rick roll is rarely higher than a 1.2 or more.

  • lorrainegrula

    Great article. These are all good changes, it just takes folks a while to get used to a new layout. We are often creatures of habit. Thanks for the good summation here.

  • vidiSEO

    Nice writeup Jeremy. I'm a big fan of the changes and have been taking a little flack on my blog for embracing change. Someone called me the "biggest prick in the world" for liking the changes. :)

    I gotta say I love the new commenting system in that it makes replying so much easier, and the 'highest rated' and 'most recent' sections are great for moving quality comments to the forefront. That should help keep trolls under the bridge... where they belong. :)

  • Jeremy Scott

    Am I the only one having trouble making the "search while your video keeps playing" feature work?

  • Travis Houston

    A search within the page WHILE the video is playing... that will be my favorite function too. Can't wait to see the changes....

  • Tara

    I like the swanky little share buttons! As an optimizer, I really like that comments are moving above the fold. Maybe now comments will be more relevant to search traffic than they were before. I'm a little worried about the "like" system. It's nice that it will be easier for my clients' videos to get a "perfect score" but at the same time it will also be easier for competitors to ruin it.