YouTube just recently started rolling out it’s new One Channel layout as an opt-in feature. It’s a fairly radical departure from the old channel template, and it’s supposed to present a unified presence for business and individuals across many interfaces, TV, PC’s, mobile devices, etc. But is it any good? Should the “average” YouTuber make the jump? Here’s my two cents on the redesign.
The basic format of the channel layout has 3 parts: A banner (channel art), channel trailer section (or recent uploads if you’re already subscribed), and a bunch of rows for playlists. These 3 elements can be scaled and assembled to look pretty on any device, similar to how Facebook displays your profile cover art on a mobile device.
At first glance, the layout may not seem very intuitive. Once you scroll down, all you see is an ocean of barely-too-small-to-read thumbnails. It’s not a particularly helpful or pretty grid, if you ask me. Its reminiscent of Microsoft’s user-interface-formerly-known-as-Metro, and that’s never a good thing in my opinion. Unless you’re on a tablet.
But there’s little reason to panic because most of the not-subscribed folk visiting your channel aren’t actually going to be browsing your videos that way. That’s why you have your channel trailer, to catch their attention and educate them on what to expect. And then once they’re (hopefully) hooked, you can hold their hand and guide their browsing. In my case, the Thumbnail Farm (as I call it) is a useful way to organize the diverse mess that is my channel. I can make playlists to separate projects and gaming content, and also highlight my most popular videos.
Channels like Indy Mogul have already jumped on board the new design. As a channel that encompasses many topics (ex. “Moguler Made” or “Indy News”) that are each pretty much their own show, the Thumbnail Farm allows Indy Mogul to tailor playlists that capture and highlight the variety in the channel.
If on the other hand you’re a channel like Jenna Marbles (I have no idea why it’s considered a related channel on my page) with only one real theme in your videos, then One Channel might not make much sense to voluntarily hop on board. The traditional “Blog” layout is actually better to browse videos in.
MachinimaPrime is an example of a channel that should make the jump to the new layout. In fact, they desperately need to switch over. They have so many shows, not all of which people care about, which are currently jumbled together in a list. One Channel would help immensely in making them look less like a pile of videos dumped into a stream, and establish a better sense of branding that encompasses distinct shows.
So here’s the TLDR: If you run a music channel, or something simple and with one focus, the new layout might be overkill for you. In fact, if you’re not serious about YouTube, it will also be more annoying because it requires good playlist curation. Don’t bother opting in.
Of course, even a piano cover channel (of which I’m subscribed to many…) could display playlists like “Covers”, “Originals”, etc., so One Channel may still be useful in showcasing your variety of talents. It really comes down to how aggressively, and how creatively can you present yourself.
It’s an exercise in self-expression, social media, and creativity. And that’s exactly what my own internet presence is about. So I’m giving it a whirl.