YouTube Tests New Design For Playlists, Videos & Channels

YouTube is currently testing out a sleeker, darker design via its ideas incubator, TestTube.

The experiment, called Cosmic Panda, was announced Thursday on YouTube’s blog. The experiment is by no means a done deal when it comes to a possible redesign, though.

“We are always testing new things on YouTube with the goal of improving the site’s overall experience,” a rep tells us. “We encourage all users to opt in to this experiment and tell us what they think about it.”

When you enter Cosmic Panda, YouTube will suggest you check out a video (“Nyan Cat,” of course), a channel (The Young Turks, The Cheezburger Network or HBO), or a playlist (of Rick Rolls). In essence, the changes aren’t that drastic.

When watching a video, for example, the vid in question will be featured on a black background (instead of white). Suggested videos and comments are now located underneath the video (toggle between them), and related videos are located on the right. YouTube did add the option to easily switch the size of the video in-browser (above related videos), which is a nice supplement.

When it comes to channels, the new header is a lot more polished looking. Usually, when you click over to a channel, the featured video starts autoplaying immediately (annoying). With the new version, the header is also a video, but at first glance it appears to just be a graphic. If you click on the graphic, it will bring you to the featured video — no autoplaying involved. YouTube also rejiggered the setup so all content is found under the tabs “Featured,” “Video” and “Community.” Overall, the whole layout is much cleaner and more professional looking.

Playlists don’t look all that different, except that the new version lets you change the size of the videos easily, and lacks the “Shuffle” feature (the old version lets you shuffle).

YouTube pushed its most recent major redesign in January 2010, streamlining video pages and nixing the starred rating system. What do you think of this proposed redesign? Should YouTube take the plunge?

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