The overall concept is a more sophisticated look for YouTube. It’s cleaner, bolder and darker. The videos now show up on a dark gray background like Hulu, but smaller videos show up with a double background of black on dark gray which is annoying. Yes, I guess the contrast is easier on the eyes, but it doesn’t work for me.
On the other hand, the new channel design is excellent, which means a nice boost for marketers who run their own video brand pages. There are four layout options but they’re all based on the idea of horizontal strips below the main video instead of down the side.
Blogger uses very large, rectangular thumbnails for each featured video, while Creator groups videos into subheadings and displays them like filmstrips. Here’s how it looks on HBO’s channel page.
Cosmic Panda makes brand pages look professional with very little effort. It’s also more about the videos, where the original channel pages had a lot of extraneous information. Some of that information has been moved to a Community tab, which toggles between your activity feed and comments left by viewers. It’s MySpace meets Facebook, but it feels like it should be more useful than it really is.
When I get past the darkness, YouTube’s Cosmic Panda is mostly moving in the right direction. It’s more intuitive, less cluttered and for those who upload a large number of videos, it’s more organized.
You can try it on for size by visiting the YouTube TestTube website.