Is YouTube seeming way too complicated to you recently? Do you think their channel layouts are just plain ugly? I agree. Are you not getting some videos in your subscription boxes? Me, either. There are lots of problems on YouTube currently that are affecting viewership, and many YouTubers who make their living from YouTube ad revenue have taken a stand against it. Even Ray William Johnson, the #1 most subscribed channel on YouTube, recently stated this on his Facebook page:
"YouTube as a globalized media phenomenon is great! But as a website it's kind of a glitchy, unreliable piece of s**t."
While this statement may be a little more blunt and brutally honest than the statements of many others, I couldn't agree more! Two years ago, YouTube had a great look and feel. And, to be honest, even when YouTube changed their homepage design in December of last year, I didn't really have any complaints. The new design looked sleek and more attractive.
But later, they made some changes for the worse to the homepage and some major and terrible changes to the channel design. The new channel design lacked customization and many key features (the side column image, the branding box, the moderator module, and the shows tab, to name a few). This greatly affected (and still affects) viewership and the average user's interest in YouTube.
Recently, YouTube announced that the average YouTube user watches about 15 minutes of video per day and that they were looking to increase that number. I wouldn't be surprised if these numbers dropped drastically in the next couple years if YouTube doesn't improve their design and user-friendly functionality. I also wouldn't be surprised if the number of users who make their living from YouTube drastically dropped. I think it's even safe to say that YouTube will become a fad in a few years, just as what has happened with MySpace and, dare I say, Facebook.
The main reason I'm writing this article, however, is to show what other people have written, suggested, and made to improve YouTube's design.
The first thing I'd like to share is an article from Crovati, the new website from a popular YouTuber named Onision (famous for "I'm A Banana", his "I'm So" music videos, and his squeaky-voiced character, Chibi Derf). The article, entitled "YouTube Is Killing Us", discusses the negative impact of the changes more in depth than I have and is quite interesting to read. Click here to read the article.
The second thing I'd like to share is a possible new design from Jon Paula, a well-known YouTuber who is the founder and president of the new media company Jogwheel Productions. This design fully incorporates the video thumbnail, like to dislike ratio, title, show and/or playlist icon, and channel username and avatar, while not leaving any unnecessary blank space like the current design does. Click here to check it out.
Be sure to share this and any other articles or proposed designs (especially the ones linked above) with people who will find it interesting, who have these same problems, or who work at Google or YouTube. Hopefully we will get YouTube back to being more than just a website again.
EDIT: May 18, 2012 - 6:15 PM: Tweet with the hashtag #SaveYouTube. We're trying to get it trending. This would help a lot.