YouTube has announced a raft of new UI updates, designed to make it easier to control your viewing experience, which will likely lead to significant experience improvements, in a range of ways, without upending the entire YouTube interaction process.
First off, YouTube’s launching a new stable volume option, which will ensure that the volume of the videos that you watch remains consistent, so you don’t suddenly get blasted with a loud ad or video clip.
Stable volume will be turned on by default for all users, though you will be able to switch it off, if you prefer a level of latent chaos.
YouTube’s also making it easier to skim through video clips, with a new intuitive control option that will switch to 2x playback whenever you press and hold down anywhere on the player.
“Once you get to the part of the video you want, simply let go! This feature will be available across web, tablets, and mobile devices.”
YouTube’s also adding bigger preview thumbnails while you seek through a clip, which will make it easier to find specific moments, while it’ll also now revert to the point in the video from where you started searching, if you want to resume viewing from the same spot.
“If you start seeking and need to go back, move your finger to where you started and lift when you feel a vibration; We’ll snap you back to the exact part of the video where you left off.”
It’s also adding a new lock screen option on mobile and tablets, so you can avoid messing up your playback on mobile devices, while it’s also simplifying its UI, with the launch of a new “You” tab, which will incorporate both your library and account pages into one.
As you can see in this example, now, all of your watch history info, as well as your settings, will be on a single page, making it easier to understand how to access each. Your “You” tab will also include a log of your playlists, downloads, and purchases, as well as channel information in the one centralized feed.
Which is definitely a good update, compared to the current maze of YouTube menus and options.
YouTube’s also releasing a new option that’ll enable you to hum a tune into the app, and have it find the track (if it can).
YouTube previewed the functionality back in August, and it could be a fun new interactive element, which could spark new viral trends.
YouTube says that the option will be rolling out “in the next few weeks”, and will be available on Android only initially.
YouTube’s also adding new animations for specific actions in the app:
“Now, when creators ask viewers to “like” or “subscribe,” a visual cue on those buttons will appear in sync with the video. And once fans smash that button, a subtle explosion of playful sparkles will reward them.”
Along with this, top comments will also get a new animation to better highlight them in-stream, while video view and like counts will now also update in real time for the first 24 hours, adding more moving elements on-screen.
And people do love shiny, flashing things.
Finally, YouTube’s also updating the menu format in the YouTube app on Smart TVs, which will now display details about a video that you’re watching in a vertically-aligned feed.
As you can see in this example, the new details format is better aligned to the large screen display, which, given that more people are now watching YouTube videos on their TV set, is an increasingly important consideration.
These are some handy options which will help to increase the functionality of the app, in a range of subtle ways. Which may be the smartest part. Rather than add-in new tools that require significant behavioral changes, YouTube has aligned its updates with how people already use the app, which will improve the experience, as opposed to changing it, and confusing people.
YouTube says that all of these new updates will be rolled out gradually to users everywhere “over the coming weeks”.