YouTube Releases New Desktop Layout, Including ‘Dark Theme’

YouTube Releases New Desktop Layout, Including ‘Dark Theme’

YouTube is trying out a new desktop design, and while the changes might not stand out / significantly alter the way you use it, they’re implementing some major shifts which will allow future development.

As explained by YouTube: “We are applying Material Design to YouTube to deliver a beautiful, delightful & intuitive user experience.”

The core areas of focus for the layout are:

· Simplicity – According to YouTube, “the new design is clean & fresh, thanks to the removal of visuals that could distract from your browsing / watching experience.” You could see this in the below screenshot comparing the old & new home pages – in the new version, the gray areas have been removed & the content listing more spread out, while the side bar navigation options are more clearly defined.

Consistency – The new design is more aligned with YouTube’s mobile experience, supporting more consistency in user experience.

This is YouTube’s description, not mine: “We strive to combine beauty & purpose to create an effortless experience”. Sounds like they could be overplaying it a bit, but again, you could see in the screenshot that the visual experience has been increased.

But the bigger changes are in the back-end. The new design is built on a faster framework called Polymer, which, as noted by TechCrunch, Google showed at their I/O developer conference a few years back. Polymer is a flexible system, which will enable them to implement future changes faster, and they have highlighted this with the addition of a ‘dark theme’, offering a better viewing experience in low-light occations.

YouTube says that this is the beginning, and that users can expect more features in future.

The new layout has not been rolled out to all users as yet, but if you want to give it a try, you could opt-in to preview the new design at You are also able to return to the current design by chosing “Restore classic YouTube” from the Account Menu.

The change is not huge, it is not likely to transform user behavior – though one other aspect is that the ‘Subscribe’ button has been given more prominence, which is worth noting for marketers.

The larger shift may be in the back end architecture, which will allow YouTube to better focus on improving speed & site performance, which could deliver more benefits moving forward.

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