Extreme Makeover - YouTube Edition

October 27th, 2006 | Categories: social media, strategy, video

The title is not quite fitting, but YouTube did get a subtle makeover yesterday.

Browsing YouTube is like playing ‘Spot the Differences’. They’ve made a couple of minor changes and alterations, but nothing overly drastic or major. The homepage itself is relatively untouched. Although upon deeper inspection, a metamorphisis is apparent.

So what’s different?New YouTube logo

  • New logo (look closely).
  • The Videos section goes red.
  • The Channels section goes green.
  • The Groups section goes orange.
  • Bottom navigation.
  • Menu below player.
  • More advanced video stats.

Should I care? And if so, why?

Yes and no. Lame, but it’s true. There have always been pro’s and con’s to changing a site’s design. Some people will love the new features and functionality. Others will scorn the changes and forfeit the site. My basic theory is that subtle cosmetic changes (as is mostly the case here) are OK, as long as the underlying value proposition to user doesn’t shift dramatically. YouTube’s value proposition is to create the best possible online video viewing experience for the user. Do these changes fit the bill? I think so. Furthermore, I am a big fan of small changes to a site on a regular basis, rather than huge revampings on an irregular basis. My thinking is that users can more easily adapt to small changes and change their behavioural patterns accordingly. An overwhelming revamp may intimidate/daunt the user - a definite negative.

So… new logo, new colours, new navigation, new player menu, new stats… great. But what I’m most excited about are trackbacks. In my opinion, trackbacks may very well be the most important factor in creating a two-way conversational web. Phase one saw comments. But trackbacks are the new way of tracking who is linking to what. By following these back-links, you can further delve into the niche subject or area, whether it pertains to a blog topic or a video.

Cosmetic changes are great, but opening the web to new dialogue and conversations is what the Internet was meant to do. So I think we can safely say, “Thank you YouTube, for trackbacks”.

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