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YouTube UX Suggestions 2015

Published by marco on

Updated by marco on

I harshed on the YouTube UX in a recent article about GrooveShark. I figured I would take a few screenshots and explain exactly what I am trying to do with YouTube and why it feels so awkward.

Use Case

The user wants to watch vides in a list that he has not yet watched.

 'Mark as unwatched' would be nice

It is not immediately obvious how or even if the user can mark a video as “unwatched” so that the little sash is no longer shown across the video in a list. As it stands, the sash is pretty much useless because the video almost always autoplays before the user can click “watch later”.

Use Case

The user would like to manipulate multiple videos in the list at once.

 No multi-select actions in list view

Also, the lists are really sensitive to clicks and default to launching a video with every missed pixel—which marks the video as “watched” (see above).

 List view really wants to play videos

In contrast, GrooveShark[1] has relatively intuitive support—nothing fancy—for manipulating multiple media items. Clicking the song selects it by default, rather than playing it. Only a click on the play button at the front of the row actually plays the song.

 Copy/move multiple items in GrooveShark

GrooveShark also has the notion of a “queue”, which is a kind of ad-hoc list to which media items are added for playing. Food for thought.

Use Case

The user has already-watched videos in a list and wishes to upvote/downvote a video.

 No video ratings in list view

Rating multiple videos at once, up or down, would complete the UX.

Use Case

The user would like to move or copy a video to another list from the list view.

 'Move' and 'copy' are missing in list view

This is currently only possible from the video player, which necessitates playing the video (again) and jumping back and forth between the list view and the player.

Here’s what moving a single song looks like in GrooveShark.

 Copy/move single item in GrooveShark

Use Case

The user has already watched videos in a list and wishes to upvote/downvote or move or copy the video to another list.

There is no good way to do this from the list. Instead, the user has to navigate to the video, auto-playing it and clicking the “Add” dropdown multiple times until the video has been added to the new list and removed from the “Watch later” list.

Use Case

The user is watching the videos in a list and wishes to organize them as he watches subsequent videos in the list.

 No commands for play list when watching videos

In order to add a video to another list (e.g. “favorite Comedy” or “Suggestions for wife”), the user must click that video to start it again or open the list in another window. None of these options are as convenient as just making list commands available from the video player, so the user is not forced to leave the context of the currently playing video.

Use Case

The user wants to move or copy a video to another list.

 Management dropdown on video page

The dropdown gets the job done, but it’s not a pleasant user experience. Instead, to move a video, the user must click multiple times, instead of just twice (to remove the video from the current list and to add it to the other list).

Use Case

The user wants to, well, do anything but watch videos in the YouTube app for Samsung SmartTVs. Some stuff that would be nice:

  • Upvote/downvote[2]
  • Add to “watch later” / build an ad-hoc queue of videos to watch
  • Move/copy video to list

The range of functionality doesn’t have to be as wide as for the desktop-browser application, but basic commands like upvote, downvote or watch later/add to list should easily be possible, even given the limited input of a TV remote control.

Use Case

The user wants to find a video in a longer list on the Samsung SmartTV YouTube app.

The YouTube app doesn’t make it very easy to find a video either. The user can only move forward in the list, but cannot wrap around to the end of the list from the beginning or vice/versa. This is really tedious when you want to watch a movie that you just added to the end of a longer list.

Some way of filtering would be most welcome, but being able to cycle backwards would be very useful for getting to the most recent content.


[1] And also Google Play, which I’ve recently discovered has quite a good UX for multiple-object selection and manipulation.
[2] Edit, April 2016: This feature is now available on Samsung’s SmartTV app. You have to be quick to navigate to it before you jump to the next video, but it’s there.