A sneak peek at YouTube’s future as it rolls out new channel design for everyone

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YouTube announced this week that it is going to roll out its new channel design to all of its publishers at the beginning of June. All channels that still use the previous design will automatically be converted on June 5 — but the new channels are just the first step towards a bigger goal of unifying YouTube’s design across all platforms.

YouTube Senior UX Designer Josh Sassoon and his colleague Tom Broxton, who leads the Monetization UX team at YouTube, gave a sneak peek at the multi-screen design principles that will guide YouTube’s future looks during a session at Google’s I/O developer conference in San Francisco Thursday. The big theme was eerily familiar to anyone following our I/O coverage this week: YouTube wants to unify its experience across all screens, the duo explained, while paying attention to the specific use cases for each and every screen.

The duo showed off some design concepts during their presentation, with some featuring the same kind of tile-based design that has been dominating Google’s mobile design language lately brought to the desktop, and at least one playing with the same kind of multi-column design that Google just launched with Google+ for a possible redesign of YouTube’s homepage.

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Many of these things were just presented as examples of the design process, which is very data-driven and based on both A/B testing and traditional user research. Fun fact: YouTube has been passing out paper assignment booklets to select users, asking them to track when in the day they’re accessing the site and with which devices.

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However, Sassoon and Broxton also shared a few slides of what they called sneak peeks — not necessarily final versions of what YouTube will look like, but definitely explorations that hint at where things are going:

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Worth noting in this shot is that YouTube is trying to unify the subscribe button across platforms — which makes a lot of sense, given how much of a focus the site has put on channels.

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Also, take a look at how gorgeous this TV UI looks. And once again, there’s a theme of unification across its desktop, tablet, Android, iPhone and ultimately TV platforms.

As for the current redesign: YouTube first introduced the newly designed channel page, dubbed One Channel, in February, and the site said that it has seen a 20 percent growth in page views on participating channels. All in all, more than 100 million channels have already opted in to the new design, according to a post on the YouTube Creators blog.

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