Having seen YouTube roll out new video and profile pages over the past few months, it’s been obvious there’s been a new Flash User Interface in the works for the common video player. Well as of today, YouTube has finally released the newest UI to most video pages, and are slowly trickling down throughout all videos over the next couple of days.
I’m interested to see what else YouTube may have in store for the design. From my use of the design thus far I can tell it’s surely a lot easier to work with, everything seems so much simpler and buttons are less obtrusive. Also, the interface controls fade into the background when you aren’t hovering near them, and once you go in to edit the volume or go fullscreen everything fades into view.
This has been a feature which I have been looking forward to for a long time. I have found that YouTube’s old player worked very well, but the button controls were frequently in the way. YT’s controls are much different from, say, competing online video site Vimeo in the sense that their controls only appear once you mouse over the video.
My thoughts were that YouTube may go that route, but it appears as of this update they aren’t. I don’t see this as a problem though, because the latest features really do work well with the site.
What else about YouTube’s Interface Design?
Aside from the common points, the track bar which shows how far you’ve watched the video shrinks when not hovering. Once you move your mouse into the zone, it blows up so you can scrub the bar forward or backward much easier. This is the same with the volume controls which still show the button and the sound waves to display an average range of how loud the video is, but will display the full scrub bar on mouseover.
The entire center area of the video player seems to be empty. This could be room for almost anything, which I’m sure YouTube and the Google team are well at work figuring out. I would hate to see some share icons or useless features added here, and even some empty space is appealing to the eyes for this design.
I’m not sure about external flash players yet. From what I’ve seen on other sites, embedded YouTube videos externally haven’t updated to a new player but I would assume will grow and update over the next couple days as the updates propagate through the web.
All in all I’m impressed with the new design, and I have to say it’s much better and easier to work with than YT’s previous design.