YouTube's new design is a hot mess.

It seems that bit by bit, little by little, YouTube is eating away at its user-friendliness.

Started for me when they switched their comments to reverse chronology – even when choosing “Read All Comments.” I understand reverse chron on the main video page. The most recent comment is on top, so you don’t have to keep scrolling to the bottom. Okay, I get that. But if someone is clicking on the “Read All Comments” link, that means in all likelihood they want to, y’know, read all the flippin’ comments. And most of us like doing that from start to finish.

In the past couple of weeks, though, they’ve really kicked their war on usability into overdrive. The “history” link, which was a useful way to go back to the last video I watched? Now hidden in your profile. Comment threading? Gone. Video description? Stuck in a tiny box beneath the video. Ratings? Now a binary “Like” or “Dislike” instead of a more nuanced star rating system, which means it’s much easier for asshats to vote something down.

Yesterday they introduced this utterly assy AJAX-like crap where all comment icons (Reply, Mark as Spam, Like/Dislike) are hidden from view unless you move your cursor over the comment, at which point they pop into existance like a fairy godmother. I hate this. I was an alpha tester for a major piece of community software that will remain nameless that, in the alpha phase of its latest version, used this same sort of AJAX* flashy junk to hide/show the reply/quote/email icons of each post when you moused over it. 99% of the alpha team complained about this stupidity, saying that all the animation was distracting and made it more difficult to reply to what you wanted to. To their credit, the software makers correctly removed this feature. What is with designers these days? Do they really believe we’re all decrying the fact that REPLY buttons are too ugly and shouldn’t be seen? What’s annoying is crap winking in and out of existance for no bloddy reason!

Further, comments are now broken up into multiple ‘pages’, where before you could just click “More Comments” and the next ten or so would keep appearing at the bottom of the screen.

At least my Firefox version of YouTube hasn’t been converted to the new design yet, though it’s only a matter of time. Has anyone else been frustrated by the changes, or am I just being stubborn and old school?

  • It might not actually be AJAX. I’m too lazy right now to look at the source to see exactly what scripting is behind this feature. But it’s a lot like AJAX, whatever it is, so I’m using this as shorthand.


Heh. I LOLed.

I admit I’m not quite sure why I care about the comments feature so much when soooo many intensely stupid people post such utter drivel. And yet I still enjoy 'em. GO fig.

I always read the comments too, choie. For me the existence of comments makes watching videos more of a communal experience . . . even if it all to frequently seems to be a community of idiots.

This always seems to happen to what ever site you long frequent. They always have to change something just for the sake of change when it was perfectly suitable as it was. I have noticed not only you-tube but the also, I-tunes store is a mess compared it what it was before, change just for the sake of change often makes things more difficult to use.

I don’t like the new playing options - If I resize during play I often have to go back to the start and play again whereas before you could pick the red (loaded) seek bar up at any played point more easily. eg to get the next suggested choices on screen that appear at the end of a vid once its played

They’ve done something to the way videos buffer which slows it down if you change view or position in mid play…

I don’t tend to bother with the comments but I agree it’s got more user unfriendly.

It’s got a history? I never knew that - I’m not always logged in though by default. Now it’s going to be even harder to find if its hidden when I do…

I agree–I was going to make a thread complaining but figured I’d get, “That’s what you get for reading youtube comments!” as a reply. But the other complaints are also valid. I don’t get why they changed. The old design worked fine, IMO.

Also, can you do random play when you do a playlist? I can’t figure it out. Though I do like that playlists are on a continuous play–if you want them to be.

Bumping this up because I’ve just noticed today that, for me anyway, the beta video ‘watch’ page has suddenly been reverted to the old layout. I didn’t change anything in my settings … I just now have the old version back. Yay! Did anyone else notice this change?

BTW, anyone else who’s displeased, or even those who aren’t, are encouraged to fill in this survey to make your opinions heard.