Thursday, July 7, 2011

YouTube Announces 'Cosmic Panda'

No, it's not YouTube's entry into the space program.

It seems like not too long ago (about two years ago, actually) that YouTube placed a new Channel design onto it's users, known as Channels 2.0 when it was released.

For those who never got used to it, there's good news, and bad news.  The answer to both of those is the Channels 3.0/Watch Page 6(?) experiment, also known as 'Cosmic Panda'.

The best way to describe what you are going to see is to read the YouTube Blog entry about it.

This seems to be changing the Channels page and the video Watch page together, in some attempt to make them look a bit more like they are part of the same thing (which everyone knows how different channels have always looked from the watch pages).

At the moment, I only have one highly positive thing to say about the new channel design.  The Recent Activity feed seems to work much better than the current one.  It shows feed activity that never showed up on the current one (although, this is including comments I posted on now deleted videos).  As for everything else, it looks like I'm going to have to provide quite a bit of feedback before I'm satisfied with the rest of the design.  For example, I didn't even notice it at first, but it seems that the only color customization available at the moment is the background.  Surprisingly enough, the color scheme used for the top area of the channel design is similar to what I would have set it to anyway, but I know a lot of people aren't fans of black and grey channel designs.  There are also four different  channel 'templates', none of them which are 'YouTube 2006 Classic', or even 'Channel 2.0'.  I chose the 'Creator' template, as it's the only one that looked somewhat reasonable (though I recommend the 'Blogger' template for those who like REALLY LARGE THUMBNAILS!).  And why do I have to click two links on a channel just to view the channel comments?  Why can't they be right there when I visit the channel?  I can't say anything about the Partner Branding Options, though.  Those don't currently seem to be available in the experiment as of now.

The watch page design looks nice.  The area around the player is greyed out (similar to a 'lights out' feature), the player controls blend in well, there are various player size options, and the comments section looks a bit less thrown together.  And YouTube's example video of the Nyan/Poptart Cat was a fun idea (a Rickroll playlist on the other hand, isn't).

I'll be sure to say more once the design changes (which it's sure to do so, just not sure by how much).

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