YouTube’s new Material Design-inspired website is here at last
YouTube.com’s finally getting a new look.
A year after it was discovered YouTube was testing a new flatter, more minimalist website design, the company’s now starting to roll out a public version as an opt-in setting.
Anyone can try the new look out, but if you don’t like it you can easily opt-out and revert back to the old design.
The website redesign is based off of Material Design, the UI and design language Google created to give Android a modern look and feel.
In fact, the new cleaned up YouTube website looks a lot like YouTube TV, with a strict deemphasis of the website menus and emphasis on creator content.
“We don’t want the UI to distract,” Fred Gilbert, Head of User Experience at YouTube, told me during an early preview of the website redesign last week. “It should always be about the content.”
Gilbert says the company went through great lengths to make it easier to discover more videos.
Distractive elements like the blue video title links are now toned down to black, sidebar menus have been cleaned up, and even the YouTube logo and the search bar in the upper left are smaller. Channel icons are smaller and round now. “There’s a lot more room to express yourself on banners,” Gilbert says.
Other things are more intuitive, too — like when you scroll down in the Home and Subscriptions sections and content just populates automatically instead of having to click “Load more,” or how you change your language (it’s now in your profile settings instead of at the footer of the page).
The new aesthetic is pleasant and immediately makes the current/old (whatever you wanna call it) version look outdated. Goodbye dull gray background!
But YouTube didn’t just give the website a fresh coat of paint. There are plenty of improvements to the foundation — all of the under-the-hood changes that users may not notice, but will allow YouTube to roll out powerful new features in the future.
“One of the reasons we’re spending so much time is because we want to do new things — faster,” Gilbert says.
The new YouTube website’s built on the Polymer framework. Yes, it’ll make things run a little faster and smoother, but long term we’ll see bigger features like the site’s new Dark Theme, which swaps out white for black and is way easier on the eyes at night — not an easy flip-of-the-switch setting on the engineering side I’m told.
It’s a beautiful new look, and I don’t think anyone who opts in is gonna revert back. But the fact that it’s opt-in suggests it’s like a beta, which isn’t the case according to Gilbert.
“It is showing the work early,” he said. “There’s a lot of things we just want to test out and make sure it’s the right thing and we’re putting it out. We never go from zero to 100. We are comfortable enough to put this version out there and we hope to hear feedback.”
To opt-in and try out the new site redesign, check it out here.