YouTube has introduced it’s new One Channel design. As I write this, it is currently available as an opt in feature. It is my understanding that in April, it will be applied to all channels and everyone will then have the new design. I recently chose to opt in and give this new layout a try.
I felt I might as well jump in and give it a go before it becomes standard throughout the site. While the new look is different, I am not opposed to it. I actually quite like it. While some feel that the new design restricts creativity, I think that you can still be very creative with your design, but you have to condense it to a smaller space. Some of the pages that creators came up with in the old design were very graphics heavy and sometimes rather overwhelming. It took away from the video content. The new layout is a much cleaner look.
The new design allows you to put up a trailer that advertises your channel to unsubscribed viewers. Only those that are unsubscribed will see this. If someone is subscribed to your channel, they will see recent uploads and your featured video instead. Your trailer will auto-play for unsubscribed users but the play box for subscribed users does not auto-play. What the subscribed play box does do is allow viewers to scroll between about 4 different videos and choose what to watch. This will be good to keep people moving from one video to the next. One thing to note is if you feature a video through in-video programming, that is the video that will be at the top of your feature play box. Keep that in mind if you are putting an old video in your in-video programming but you would prefer the video that is on the top to be a recent upload instead.
You are able to change up your playlists from horizontal to vertical and you can also now create playlists from the tags you assign to your videos. That means, your playlists can easily be created simply by saying you want to have any video with the tag “cat” to be in your new playlist and bingo! You have a new cat playlist. You could do the same for vacation videos, prank videos…etc. Just make sure you have a keyword/tag assigned to the videos you want in the playlist and you’re set! Since your playlists are going to be so visible on your page, I would suggest looking into customized thumbnails to really give a good first impression.
My advice is to keep your trailer short. Think about advertisements you see on TV for new shows. They are generally short and feature clips from upcoming episodes. They are a teaser of what the show has to offer. Your trailer should be the same and feature some of your most popular clips. We made our trailer about 45 seconds long and featured one of our twins who really wanted to make another video. Why not use someone who wants to be on film? We then incorporated a couple of our most popular clips as well as some other general footage but for shorter time lengths. We found free music (Creative Commons licensing) online provided by Incompetech to use as our track. The last thing you want to do is spend all this time creating a trailer, just to get a flag for copyright infringement for using a popular song.
YouTube’s new design is set up for you to use a VERY LARGE 2120 X 1192 px image. You create this image, keeping in mind that only a small portion will be used on YouTube itself. The other areas will be used when viewing your site during TV play. YouTube has provided a template that you can use that shows all the fields. You can find that here. I found a Photoshop template (.psd file) that another individual created that I found to be the best for me to create our background. You can find that channel with that template here.
When creating your banner, I recommend starting with the innermost layer. This is the space that will be seen on desktops, mobile devices and tablets. You want the most information in that center block and from there, either gradient out your background or do something so when the image is seen on TV…etc the remaining revealed image works well with what is front and center. YouTube will automatically resize your image, so what you imagine will be seen on the screen, may not be exact and you may find some of your background layers peeking through on the sides. Play around with it until you get it to display exactly how you want.
You will also need to consider your avatar and how it will display against your banner. Your avatar will actually sit on top of your banner and is static, while your banner will be resized underneath it. You will want something that compliments your banner image but still communicates who you are.
YouTube automatically overlays links to your website, twitter account, Facebook fan page, or any other site you have entered to be displayed on your page. Be aware that this will cover a small portion of the bottom right of your banner. These are clickable links but they are not too intrusive.
Putting It All Online:
YouTube has actually made it quite easy to upload your art onto the site. You can insert your banner by clicking the little pencil icon on the right side of your banner box. You will then be prompted to find your file or even use one of their pre-made backgrounds. After, you will be shown how your graphics will display in the various formats. You can then crop them as you need to for last minute tweaks.
Your avatar is uploaded in a different area. You will need to go to your Account Settings, found under the dropdown below your name at the top right corner of your screen. Here you can change your avatar to what you would like to represent you on all the comments you post and the static over the top left of your banner. Your banner will resize underneath your static avatar if the browser screen is expanding or shrinking. This will change what will be seen in the top left side of your banner. Be aware of it when designing.
Hopefully you have found this useful! Obviously the new layout is new, which means I’m sure someone will discover some neat feature that we haven’t found yet. Don’t get too freaked out by the new design. It is rather easy to use and you can still have some fun with it.