YouTube Gives Their Video Player A Makeover, Again

YouTube has begun rolling out a new version of its video player.  The new look is designed to promote the video content itself and move the player more into a supporting role.

In a general sense, the interface and controls have been redesigned and cleaned up.  Specifically... the big change is the time line ticker, which now actually fades away (into a much tinier version) after a few seconds of video have played.   That's something other players have been doing for a while and, in my opinion, something that YouTube was long overdue on instituting.  At the same time the progress meter changes, the lower control panel section of the player switches from the standard silver to a softer white as well.  Very slick.

The volume knob has also been changed--from an up-and-down version to a new side-to-side interface, meaning it no longer overlaps the actual video content--another overdue change in my book.

All these moves seemed designed to let the video player ease into the background and allow the user to focus on the video itself.  And for that reason alone, I love them.

Take a look at comparison screenshots below (I split the second image to give you a view of how the progress bar disappears midway through the video playback).

Old Player:

YouTube Gives Their Video Player A Makeover, Again

New Player:

YouTube Gives Their Video Player A Makeover, Again

YouTube Gives Their Video Player A Makeover, AgainAdditionally, there are some neat features that can be accessed by right clicking on the new player.  For example, you can now see the streaming information, take a YouTube speed test, and you can report a playback issue to Google, which takes you to http://www.google.com/support/youtube/bin/request.py?contact_type=playbackissue.

Anyways, it wasn't very long ago that YouTube released a complete redesign of the player page, creating a cleaner and smoother experience.  Now they've updated the player itself as well.

It should be noted that this new player isn't everywhere yet.  Embedded videos, for instance, are still using the older version.  As are any videos on YouTube that have advertisements.  However, the new player will go live for those videos as well sometime in the next few weeks.

It's a bit odd for YouTube to roll out changes this significant without some kind of announcement on their blog.  Maybe it's a soft launch for a reason... I certainly don't know.  But it's the kind of thing you might normally expect a company to announce and explain up front.

That's now two major design-related overhauls in the last month for YouTube, who is clearly not willing to rest on their laurels as the reigning king of online video.  I'm personally a big fan.  I think these small changes--which might seem insignificant to most users--are very positive and will achieve their goal of keeping the video content in the spotlight.  Of course, I liked the page redesign last month too, and that seems to be a minority opinion... so there are likely those that disagree with me.  Where do you stand on the new YouTube video player... positive improvement or unnecessary upheaval?

About the Author -
Jeremy Scott is the founder of The Viral Orchard, an Internet marketing firm offering content writing and development services, viral marketing consulting, and SEO services. Jeremy writes constantly, loves online video, and enjoys helping small businesses succeed in any way he can. View All Posts By -

What do you think? ▼
  • danimations

    Nice to see Youtube tuning up it's player... I agree, some of those subtle fixes were long overdue (and already implemented by other portal sites).

  • http://www.VideoLeadsOnline.com/ Ronnie Bincer

    I like the new tweaks on the player... I noticed it yesterday but wasn't sure if it was just a test or going to last since i had heard nothing about it. Thanks for the heads' up on this REELSEO! Also thanks for the heads' up on the right clicking.

    Re. the other bigger redesign, one thing I really miss is the date of videos. The related video list no longer shows the date the video was updated so you have no idea if the video is new, kinda new or OLD NEWS. I, as many I know, look for the fresh stuff to watch and this change makes that harder to do. Any tips on how to see the date of upload in the related video list (usually on the right of the main player)?

    • http://www.reelseo.com/ Mark Robertson

      cool observation - no, I dont know how to do tweak that - will be looking
      into it.

  • http://www.rewatchable.com Boston Video Production

    The video player and video page redesign both look great. These are great steps to make YouTube more attractive for corporate video clients.

  • http://www.insitemotionmedia.com/ Boston Video Production

    Yes perfectly agree with you. The new video player is all about just enjoying unadulterated video.