YouTube picks up Material Design with an updated logo and dark theme

YouTube is 12 years ago, kind of hard to imagine a world without it at this point. When it began, there was little attention paid to the design, with...

YouTube is 12 years ago, kind of hard to imagine a world without it at this point. When it began, there was little attention paid to the design, with a focus on just getting the fundamental functionality established. Over the years it has gone through a number of iterations and today is the most recent update.

Things have changed a lot online in the life of YouTube, with video making up a far higher portion of the content consumed online. That video used to be a tiny postage stamp of 320×240 pixels at the horrible 4:3 aspect ratio. Fast forward to today, and YouTube lets you watch any combination of SD, HD, 4K (even 8K), 360, 3D. Not only does it let you watch published videos on your schedule, there’s no a strong element of live streaming video as the platform continues to be a modern news network available to anyone with a phone or webcam.

In terms of device support, you can find YouTube on desktops, phones, tablets, TVs, game consoles, and even VR headsets. More recently there’s also tailored experiences like YouTube MusicYouTube Gaming and YouTube TV. YouTube Kids enables a safe experience for families to watch together.

Over the last few months YouTube have started releasing updates they say will continue throughout the rest of the year. The goal is to deliver a new level of functionality and a more consistent look across our desktop and mobile experiences.

YouTube mobile app new features

  • Clean new design: We’ve made the header white to let content take the lead and moved the navigation tabs to the bottom of the app so they’re closer to your thumbs. We also added new Library and Account tabs that give you easy access to what you’re looking for.
  • Videos that move with you: One of the things we’re working on is bringing gestures to YouTube. Earlier this year, we introduced a gesture that allows you to double tap on the left or right side of a video to fast forward or rewind 10 seconds. Give it a try! We already see billions of double taps per day. And I wanted to give you a sneak peek at another gesture I am really excited about. In the coming months, we’ll experiment with a feature that lets you jump between videos with a simple swipe of your hand: just swipe left to watch a previous video or swipe right to watch the next one.
  • Watch at your own pace: Users love that they are able to speed up and slow down the playback of a video on desktop, and we’re excited to bring this feature to the mobile app today, so you can enjoy videos at whatever speed you prefer.
  • Adapt to any video, beautifully: We’ve also been experimenting with new ways to display all videos in the best possible way. Soon, the YouTube player will seamlessly change shape to match the video format you’re watching, such as vertical, square or horizontal. That means you’ll always get the best viewing experience automatically – including vertical videos with no black bars on the sides!
  • Browse and discover while you watch: We recently added a feature that lets you view a row of suggested videos while you’re watching in full screen. We’re also working on transforming the area below the player so you can browse videos in totally new ways.

Desktop new features

YouTube is now getting Material Design which delivers a fresh, simple and intuitive user experience that lets content shine. Probably the biggest new desktop feature is the Dark Theme, which turns the background dark while you watch for a more cinematic look. YouTube is rolling out the new features around the globe starting today!

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Creator of techAU, Jason has spent the dozen+ years covering technology in Australia and around the world. Bringing a background in multimedia and passion for technology to the job, Cartwright delivers detailed product reviews, event coverage and industry news on a daily basis.
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