YouTube undergoes the usability testing

About YouTube :
Launched in May 2005, YouTube allows billions of people to discover, watch and share originally-created videos. YouTube provides a forum for people to connect, inform, and inspire others across the globe and acts as a distribution platform for original content creators and advertisers large and small.

Basic Layout of YouTube

Basic layout of YouTube

The opening layout of YouTube is quite clean and simple. It mainly has three basic utilities on the top part — “Search”, “upload” and “sign in”. The audience on YouTube either browse for videos or upload their original ones. This interface has relevant options for both of them.

This uncluttered interface is visually appealing and does not overwhelm the user with too much information at once. It also increases the usability, by sorting out the videos in categories such as recommended, sports etc. This is very tempting for someone who is on the website for a random search.

Usability test parameters

  • Users targeted

Prior to starting with the usability tests, I defined the user persona so that I got a better understanding of their mindset, thinking in terms of context, needs, and goals. So, I shared this prototype with 32 users in the age group of 16–32. I managed to get users who had not used YouTube before (I know that sounds kind of impossible!) but were technologically inclined.

  • Objective

Identify pain points and UX takeaways from the YouTube website prototype. My attention was on the sign in/ registration process and finding a video.

  • Task sent to users

Sign-in to YouTube and find the video — “Gangnam style” (well it is still the most searched video on the internet!). End the task by liking the video.

  • How was the test held

Remote usability testing. I used CanvasFlip to get user experience insights on the website prototype.

  • Prototype

Before we get into understanding the pain points and takeaways, I am sure you would want to experience the prototype yourself. So here it is — Give it a shot!

Check out the Prototype here

Usability test

The Sign in process

For a new user, sign in does not make much sense. “Sign up”, “Not a member, click here”, “Register” are usually the navigations a new user looks for. None of these are present on YouTube’s opening screen. Sign up/register is a vital part of YouTube as a good bunch of people coming to YouTube are interested in registering and uploading their content. Let me show you a screenshot of a comment left by a user on the prototype.

Watch out for the comment left on the prototype

When you clicked on Sign in…

Around 50% of the people opt for “Create new account”
Create account

YouTube is owned by Google and they believe in having a single password for every account. Just after the user clicks on “Sign in”, he is taken to a page on Google asking for Google credentials. A new user might not get this concept on the first go. Although there is a heading that says -“One account. All of Google”, still around 50% of the users clicked on “Create an account”. Maybe they were hoping to create an exclusive account for YouTube!

Now that you are registered…

YouTube welcomes the users with an added message highlighted in blue — “You are now registered with YouTube”. This is a good way of confirming that the registration process is over. The color adds a visual effect to confirm that the process is over.

The searching process

The search process in YouTube is quite intuitive — A typeable box with a magnifying glass placed to the right. Users are quite used to relating the magnifying glass to search. Similar was the response in the usability test. There was a concentrated interaction on the search box.

Interaction on search

Highlights from the test

  • The total number of users that completed the task — 27 out of 32 users.

This number includes users that completed the task from either way — “login with email id” or “create new account”

  • No of steps required to register, find and like the video –

Register with email id — 8 steps

Create a new account — 10 steps

  • Avg time taken to complete the task — 45 secs

Conclusion — On the graph of 10!

I plotted the difficulty level of the two tasks at hand based on the user experience insights I got from CanvasFlip.

As it turns out, searching lies in between easy and medium. Signing up/registration lies in the medium region.

Hope you found these UX insights helpful. Do let me know what you feel about the user experience on YouTube in the comments below. Glad to know from you.

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