YouTube is rolling out a huge redesign to both its desktop and mobile applications, doing away with clutter, re-imagining its logo and instituting other changes including allowing users to play vertical videos in full screen on their smartphone.
Some of the changes had already rolled out to a limited amount of people that could test them before the release, but the roll-out starts for everyone today.
The new YouTube logo puts the emphasis on the popular red play button
YouTube logo before the re-design
The change in the logo design is probably the one that will be easiest to notice and the one that will affect content creators the least: the red focus circle on the 'Tube' part of YouTube is no longer there.
Instead the red YouTube play button now stands ahead of a black YouTube text logo.
"We have to be able to adapt the experience to best suit the device and context in which people are consuming it"
But it is the newly added support for vertical video that will make tons of smartphone videos much more enjoyable to watch. To pull this off, YouTube has introduced a new adaptive video player that adjusts to different video formats, including vertical videos.
“One of the things we all collectively hated was the black bars,” YouTube’s VP of product management Manual Bronstein said. “A small picture and black bars.”
And that was exactly the case with vertical videos in the past: since YouTube was originally designed back when landscape video was the norm, vertical videos were displayed as a tiny portion of the screen with black bars on the sides, wasting a huge space of a phone display. This update changes that for good.
New scalable player allows for full-screen vertical video
This is not the only change, though: YouTube has new fonts, updated colors and a new Material re-design that communicates clearly that this is a Google product.
YouTube is now also aiming for full feature parity across the app on all platforms. While you can video playback speed on desktop, you could not do this on mobile. This will change in the near future, as the team is committed to bringing the feature to mobile (even though it might not be available on day 1 with the other new features). Similarly, you can minimize the video to a mini player on top of the main app while you browse the video feed, and this mobile feature is coming to desktop in the near future.
YouTube is also experimenting with a new shortcut for video discovery: simply swipe left and a new video will be cued up based on recommendation algorithms. And if you've skipped something that you later wanted to see, you can swipe right to find that.