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article imageYouTube's dramatic design overhaul is now official

By James Walker     May 3, 2017 in Technology
Over a year since Google started public testing of a radical overhaul of YouTube's website, the company has made the new look official. The revamped design is the most substantial change to YouTube in years. Google said future features will arrive faster.
The Material Design version of YouTube has been available using a variety of tricks for several months. The company has been gradually expanding access to the feature as part of an A/B testing scheme over the past year so many of its features are already known. This week, the company finally made its work official, confirming YouTube's current design will be phased out before the end of 2017.
YouTube's desktop interface has been rebuilt from the ground-up. It's now bigger, bolder and brighter, unless you turn on the optional dark theme. Google's Material Design visual language permeates every corner of the site, creating a cohesive feel that aligns YouTube with the current state of web design.
Google has essentially implemented the design used in its YouTube mobile apps on the web, creating a newfound consistency across platforms. Wherever you use YouTube, it'll now have the same core look and feel. Three years after being announced, Material Design is finally making its way across Google's properties, unifying them in the process.
YouTube Material Design overhaul
YouTube Material Design overhaul
YouTube hasn't been given such a far-reaching design overhaul in several years. According to Google, this is because of architectural changes the team has been working on to enable the new look. YouTube's Material Design view is built on top of Google's Polymer framework, a set of JavaScript components that make it easier to implement Material Design on the web.
Moving to Polymer means future features will require much less development time. Although it's taken years to get to this point, the path forwards will now be much easier for Google to negotiate. The company said users can expect more advanced features like dark mode to be added in the coming months. The dual-theme support is the first of the capabilities that Polymer has enabled.
Google intends to focus on improving the performance of the website once it's done with releasing the design. The Polymer base will enable the company to reduce the site's latency, making it feel generally faster and more responsive. This could induce people to watch more content if it loads almost immediately.
YouTube Material Design overhaul
YouTube Material Design overhaul
Although the design is now official, Google still isn't ready to widely release the new-look YouTube. It has progressed beyond the beta testing stage but is still looking for feedback from users before it lets everyone access the new interface. Fred Gilbert, YouTube's Head of User Experience, told Mashable that the aim is to "show the work early," letting the community add "ideas and suggestions on how to improve and fix the company's work.
Starting today, we’re opening up a preview of the new design to a small group of people from all around the world so we can get feedback," said Google. "While we hope you'll love what we’ve been working on, we’re also really excited to involve the YouTube community so we can make the site even better before sharing it more broadly."
If you're impatient to access the new site, you can convert your account today by visiting If you decide to revert to the old design, a "Restore classic YouTube" option is available from the account menu. Google intends to migrate all users to the reimagined interface within the next year, after which classic mode will be disabled.
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