Vimeo (s IACI) has rewritten its website from the ground up, introducing a brand new player and multiple new features aimed at improving navigation and discovery of new videos. Built with its user base in mind, the new Vimeo site was designed to reduce clutter and increase the speed with which pages load and videos can be found.
Vimeo’s new video pages are optimized for viewing with a 960×540 video player at the top and related info — comments, likes, tags, etc. — hidden below the fold. For viewers who want to navigate other related videos, Vimeo has added a tab for “More Videos” that unveils related videos along the top of the page. By doing so, Vimeo has eliminated a lot of the clutter that was visible on the old site.
The site also has a consistent look and feel, across video pages, category pages and the like, which is designed to improve navigation throughout. Vimeo has also added a new recommendation engine that will enable viewers to find interesting relevant content while browsing videos. It’s also improved the search mechanism and added keyboard shortcuts to make browsing and navigation even easier for its users.
Not all changes are purely cosmetic: While much of the focus has been on improving the site visually, the Vimeo team was also able to speed it up considerably. According to Vimeo CEO Dae Mellencamp, whom we met with a few weeks ago, the site now loads about 50 percent faster than it had previously. Most improvements come from making the site more dynamic and not fully reloading pages whenever someone clicks a new video or requests new content. And that will also improve Vimeo’s ability to make updates to the site as time goes on.
Behind the scenes, Vimeo has made changes to the site to enable faster uploading of video files with a multiple file uploader. And it’s added advanced features that will let users hide their activity streams or block users from being able to comment or otherwise interact with their videos.
Vimeo’s not the only high-profile video site to get a redesign lately. Last month, YouTube (s GOOG) unveiled its new site, which added more social elements and an increased focus on a user’s subscriptions and playlists, with less attention paid to the video player itself. By contrast, Vimeo has put the video player at the center of its experience.
“We’re forging our own path, not following anyone else’s path, Mellencamp said. That’s good news for Vimeo’s user base, which tends to appreciate things like a good, clean design. As a result, the update should give its producers even more reason to stick with the site as the place to showcase their creative endeavors.