Last week video-hosting service YouTube introduced a ‘fresh coat of digital paint’ for its website to improve the user experience for the millions of visitors across the globe. YouTube announced the new layout via its blog and a short introductory video.

At the time of writing, the ‘Get More into YouTube’ video has attracted over 13,000 ‘dislikes’ and a mere 4,000 ‘likes’. So what’s so bad about the changes made?

Operating as a subsidiary of Google, the new layout for YouTube is focused on channels and perhaps more importantly, encouraging users to sign up to a YouTube or Google account.

On one level, using an account whilst you search for videos will allow users to get the most out of the advanced features and will help you find related channels and clips to previous searches.

However, on a different level, this move may have been made as a way of defining ROI for television broadcasters like Channel 4 and Channel 5, who have syndication deals with the site.

YouTube has tried to make creating and editing channels easier by introducing new channel templates to meet the needs of the user. It has been said that advertisers are reluctant to be seen alongside ‘user generated’ content, which has motivated more professional, celebrity-endorsed channels.

With the advancement of anytime TV platforms like BBC iPlayer and Sky Go, people aren’t restricted to when they watch their favourite soap, sitcom or documentary. Although other attempts to syndicate TV content on the web have been less successful (SeeSaw anyone?), the concept of watching all your video content through one source will surely appeal in the long run?

Also, a strong emphasis has been placed on connecting to YouTube through social media platforms Google+ and Facebook, plus a nod to micro-blogging tool Twitter with YouTube’s new trending videos function. This is no great surprise as Google have been stepping up their efforts in breaking Facebook’s mantle over the social media sphere.

I’ve read a lot of criticism of the new YouTube site ‘appeasing’ to Facebook, but surely this is simply a sign of the times. There are thousands of videos shared by Facebook users each day, it wouldn’t take a genius to work out that many of these videos are hosted on YouTube.

Every time there is a significant overhaul of a popular website, be it Facebook or the BBC – the reaction always seems to be more negative at first.

It has been said by many that people (on the whole) are resistant to change and unfamiliarity in many walks of life – and with the web it’s no different. You could debate whether the changes to the YouTube site is either trying to reflect user behaviour on its site, or simply dictating it, but deep down do users really care?

It would perhaps be different if you had to pay for the service YouTube provides? The display ads that pop up on the screen whilst you watch a video may be distracting, but it keeps the content free and you never know, the advert may be for something you want to purchase as a result of the clip viewed.

As long as you can still watch your favourite programme, music video or clip of a dog chasing deer across Richmond Park with relative ease (without paying) – there shouldn’t be any need for all the current uproar.

What do you think?

  • http://www.youtube.com/simpleminzen simple

    I strongly DISLIKE the changes. Youtube has always been a unique medium connecting song with communication from the uploads to the video responses to the send comments. It’s all gone.

    It’s not more interactive, but less. And we’re forced to “suck up,” like it or lump it. I think I may abandon my account along with all the others who are displeased.

    Youtube in its new form is ubiquitous, really. Like so many other social media sites out there; I’m afraid they’ve killed the truly unique aspects of it :)