Episode 2.4 “YouTube — landing page (desktop)”, the good, the bad and the features to add

ProdActivity
6 min readNov 29, 2020

Welcome back to ProdActivity! The show where we analyse and review software products/apps/websites and what activities can be done to make them better. So, in this episode we are analysing #Youtube, one of the biggest media companies in the world, if not the biggest. Without further ado, lets get started with Season 2, episode 4:

“YouTube” — the good, the bad and the features to add!

Definition of YouTube, what is it and what is the story behind it? YouTube was started by three ex PayPal employees in 2005 and was bought by Google in 2006, just a year later for 1.6B USD. Currently YouTube is estimated to earn about 15B USD per year and has 2 Billion users globally. As you can see it is a massive platform with lots of products, tools as well as business models and, as you can guess, history of controversy. Even the core platform itself has lots of bells and whistles, therefore in this episode we will focus only on the main page and video playing page of YouTube desktop.

So, for now let’s dive into analysis. Starting with the home page, you are presented with a screen divided into three. That helps with easy navigation and helps the page not too feel cluttered, although it has quite a lot of content on it. On the top centre we have a Search bar. It is separated and draw attention instantly, reminiscent of Google itself. On the right side we have a quick upload button, for uploading new videos. This is super helpful for creators and encourages more users to add content. At the end of the day, more content means more users for YouTube. Next to this, we have an 8 box matrix. When clicked on it we are presented with all other services YouTube offers. These services, such as YouTube tv, YouTube kids, creator academy, YouTube for artists are the services that offer a differentiated product than YouTube itself, with a separate business model and pricing as well. All other pages, services, business models we will analyse in the next episodes. But here, what I would do, is to have a button at the end of the box, where these services can be presented with more info on a separate page. In the far right corner we have a user avatar, which contains all the profile related pages within it.

YouTube logo is seen on the left side and it serves as a home button, which is a standard practice, yet many companies still do not do that. On the left of it, in the corner, we have hamburger type menu button. It is collapsible, but appears unfolded when you first visit the website, which is good for first time visitors and makes the navigation and familiarisation easy. The unfolded menu creates the second section of the screen, taking 1/3rd of it on the left side. Here we do have access to other pages. These are divided into Channel related shortcuts, such as library, history and video; Subscriptions list and More from YouTube section. As I said it is easy for navigation, but once you start diving in, there are things that I do not like. First of all, the Subscriptions section. On top we have a dedicated button that will take the user to the pages they are subscribed to. However just a little below it, we have subscription section with name of the top channels. You can click to view more and it shows all the channels user subscribed to in this section. I have almost 200 subscriptions and when I click show more it just makes the screen a long scrolling screen, with show less option all the way on the bottom. So that creates a very bad UX as well as UI experience. One good thing here is that it shows channels that are doing live on top of that list. I think that can be used as a main purpose of this section, just show my subscriptions, that are having a live video. That what I would change here.

If we scroll a bit further down, we have a section, More from YouTube. We can see here pages, which seems like a separate service for a dedicated user bases and target audiences, but do not have a different product or business model. One exception here is YouTube Premium, which I believe should be together with the services on the top and not here. Besides Premium, here we have YouTube Gaming, Live, Movies. The aim is to compete for the attention of users of Twitch, Netflix and other services in their categories. Again, these sections we will check out in the following episodes. At the bottom of the menu section we have a standard about us, cookies and other sections. The reason it is here and not on the main part of the screen, is because YouTube home page is non-stop scrollable, like other social media pages.

So, let’s talk about the main feed. On the top, under the section where we had Search bar, the user is offered with keywords based on previous searches. It is followed by subtle and well done ad section, top news videos, non-video posts from channels and finally non-ending list of recommended videos. The separation of these are good and needed, but I would say that the headers can be written with a bit bigger font size, for more visible separation.

Ok, I think the homepage is done, finally, and we can check the video page itself. What we see when we click on a video? Video appears on the left. Most videos start with ad, if the channel is monetised. That is how YouTube and users earn money, but ad revenue. YouTube is trying to push everyone to the Premium subscription; therefore, we can see two or more ads per video, which can get quite annoying. But for now, there is no alternative for YouTube, therefore it feels strong doing this. Video control options are straightforward and easy. I really like the speed of video option and subtitles option. Use it a lot daily. Under the video name, we have Video name, likes dislikes, join and subscribe buttons, and description part, where creators post texts and links. With Join button Youtube is competing directly with Patreon, a service where creators get monthly donations by their fans. Very useful for creators. Under all of that there is a comment section, which need improvement. You can no search within the comments and replies section, which can be useful if you are looking for a son name in the video and want to see if someone else asked that question before you. On the right side to the video we have the ad banner, about the ad that we saw before the video and under that there are other related videos. One part I really like is the auto play option. Super useful if you are doing dishes and cant touch your phone to start the next video. It gives you 10 seconds before the next video starts. Very well executed.

Today we tried to capture the analysis of YouTube main and video pages with all its features and complexities and I hope you enjoyed it! We will do more of YouTube in several more episodes, so stay tuned. Thanks a lot for listening and as always remember to check Anchor audio version and check Teespring link in the description for apparel by GetGuided. Thanks for listening, stay safe, talk to you later.

That is pretty much it, first things that came to my mind.

Today we tried to capture the analysis of YouTube platform and I hope you enjoyed it! Thanks a lot for listening and as always remember to check Anchor channel for audio version and check Teespring link in the description for apparel by GetGuided. Thanks for listening, stay safe, talk to you later.

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ProdActivity

As you can guess most of the episodes will be focused on entrepreneurship, startups, product &growth. However, sometimes I may dive into social issues & more.