In honor of YouTube having turned 17 years old earlier this year, Google has begun to roll out a few new visual tweaks to its mobile, web, and SmartTV interfaces to provide a cleaner and more modern look. These changes came about from the input YouTube gathered from viewers around the world on what would improve users’ watching experience. Here are the results:
YouTube played around with different ideas, but the main theme was always to keep as much color and vibrancy as possible without taking away from the experience. What YouTube came up with is what it calls “ambient mode,” which is a design they tested with a selected beta group that had overwhelmingly positive feedback.
This new “ambient mode” uses dynamic color sampling, which adds a subtle effect in the app’s background that is taken from the video itself. YouTube says this was inspired by the light that screens cast in a dark room, sort of like biased lighting. This feature is rolling out on the web and mobile in dark theme only.
Even darker theme
If you prefer the blacked-out look, you’ll be glad to know that YouTube’s current dark theme is being updated to be even darker. This will allow for colors to be more noticeable and pop as they shine through the darker layer. This feature will roll out on the web, mobile, and Smart TV’s as well.
Playlists are also getting a makeover, adopting the same color treatment as the ambient mode and showing more information about it right up front. This will make it easier to identify playlists and easily jump right into them.
Watch page improvements
We all know that the most important part of the YouTube experience is the watch page. This is where the majority of the time as we consume content video after video. YouTube is now making the watch page easier to view by adding little touches like YouTube links showing up as buttons instead of just links in video descriptions. Additionally, frequent actions, such as the like, share, and download buttons, have now been made smaller to minimize distractions. Lastly, the subscribe button is also getting a new shape and higher contrast color in order to make it stand out. It will no longer be the classic red, but will be easier to find on watch pages and channel pages.
Pinch to zoom and Precise seeking
This update goes beyond the visual tweaks and also introduces two new features that were previously only available as experiments via youtube.com/new. Both “pinch to zoom” and “precise seeking” have graduated and are now permanent fixtures of the standard YouTube experience.
Pinch to zoom is pretty self-explanatory, but for those not familiar with precise seeking, the feature will allow you to drag or swipe up while seeking to get even more granular and reveal a row of thumbnails with the exact second you want to reach in the video. All of these new tweaks and features will roll out gradually starting today and through the next few weeks.