Saturday, July 13, 2013

Remembering the YouTube Times

In celebration, or dis-celebration of almost nearly 2 months of YouTube's "One Channel", I decided to look back in the past and see how much YouTube has completely dis-evolved in 7 years.


YouTube's first channel layout. The design is plain and simple, yet it worked. Navigation was super easy and effective. Everything including full profile, featured video, activity feed, uploads (which was entirely customizable), playlists (also customizable), friends, subscriptions, subscribers and comments are all in one single page. You didn't have to click multiple times to get to see the content you wanted to see. Bulletins and special videos section are also great.

Background and all the colors of the channel can be altered, and full transparency of all sections were available so your background could pop out.

This is highly regarded as YouTube's best channel layout by the majority of YouTubers.


2009-2011 "Version 2.0"


YouTube's first channel layout change. This is probably the most highly criticized action YouTube made by the public, and rightfully so. Thousands upon thousands of comments were posted on YouTube's forums and videos, and 99% of them were against it.

What's wrong with it?

First off, the organization and placements of sections are completely clumsy. User profile has been pushed down the page into semi-obscurity, and the featured video and its player is now always on top. The new channel video player has the ability to play all videos without having to leave the channel. I find this feature actually useful and nice, but a heft of options are disintegrated when playing videos using this method: viewing full sized, leaving and viewing comments and exploring related/recommended videos. To be able to access and do any of these, you would have to click to view the video in its original video page (which a lot of people will be too lazy to do). In the end, this punishes the channel owner the most, and would make views and comments diminish greatly. Somewhat good for the viewer, bad for the uploader.

The video sidebar, is the only place where you can store your playlists, favorites and uploads. You can no longer see all of them at once, requiring multiple clicks. Also, there's finger numbing scrolling you have to do to go through the videos since the sidebar is tiny. Bugs even makes it worse—sometimes it forgets where you were at during scrolling and you have to start scrolling over again from the beginning. Arrghh...

The design was also ugly.

I did appreciate the ability to watch videos on the channel without leaving the page, but there's simply too many bad implementations and design choices. It's still better than the next one though, which is even worse...

2011-2013 "Cosmic Panda"

Here is where customization and personalization really took a dive into non-existence. In cosmic panda, the default and only theme you could choose from was a plain looking gray/white appearance. Coupled with the removed ability to set transparency on anything, everyone's channels look exactly the same, besides the background. Speaking of the background, since the main gray/white content took over 90% of the display estate, the background can hardly be seen by most users. So why even bother?

Content is now even more separated into different pages, and some don't even make a lick of sense. To be able to view a person's channel comments, one would to click on "Browse Video" and then click on "Comments". Say, what does channel comments have to anything to do with browsing videos again, Einstein?

Mentioning channel comments, YouTube now cuts off comments after a certain period of time. So you can no longer view older comments at all, not even if you are channel owner. BS.

The ability to watch any videos without leaving the channel is now gone. That's funny, I thought they believed that was one of the greatest features and advertised so much out of it. Now they removed it entirely? But that's how the upgrade downgrade process on YouTube works, incorporate a feature that's remotely useful and then remove it for no reason on the next iteration.

The only thing I like about the new channel layout is that video thumbnails are very large. So it's easier for viewers to see them. Other than that, the previous two layouts were much superior.

2013-???? "One Channel"


A few months ago, YouTube decided it was going to change its homepage layout for the 63 gazillion time, going from a fairly graphical multi-grayscale layout to one so white it would give snow a run for its money. The most noteworthy bit of this change was the new sidebar, which YouTube claims allows a user to instantly see all of their subscribers activity and uploads on any page with a single click. I honestly could care less about it, especially since the new layout made my eyes bled with it having so much empty white space everywhere.

With this one feature in mind, they thought it was so radical and so crucial that channels must have it too! And being the brilliant minded folks they are, instead of just simply attaching the sidebar to the current channel layout, they went with yet again an all out entirely new layout. Remember, a new layout from YouTube means a POS layout that's another step worse than the previous.

Thus, the ugly duckling "One Channel" was born.

I don't think I even need to do much explanation on this layout as it's been forced down everybody's throat now for months.

Devolution is right.

So, what is your favorite and worst YouTube channel layout?


  1. Nice look back and criticism of the many terribly bad channel layout changes of YouTube over the years. Not only does it make me miss your channel a lot, it makes me miss mine as well. Oh, and I really like your channels (except the new one, but that can't be help :P)

  2. The first layout was the best, but cosmic panda was your best looking. :O

  3. Maybe it's just me, but I actually like version 2.0 better than the first one. O:

  4. eewww... youtube channel layouts...

  5. Wow... memories... I remember all of your channels even before the first one you put a picture of. Too bad everything sucks now!

  6. Your backgrounds are always so beautiful!