Youtube changes for the worse… again

Now I know Google is just taking the piss!
Youtube went through ANOTHER counter productive change. The two most used features, the change in quality and toggling annotations, have now been put into a menu.
A week ago, you changed the quality of the video by clicking one button to open the menu, select your quality and the menu disappeared on its own. Now you have to click up one menu, then click up a second, select your quality and close the menu, so 4 clicks.
A week ago you clicked a button to toggle annotations. Now you have to click to open a menu, click either “on” or “off” for annotations (no longer a single button) and then close the menu, so it’s three clicks and a choice this time.

This might not seem like much, but it’s so awkward and makes no sense. They had something good, something that worked, so why change it? And if you’re gonna put your most used options into this awkward menu, why didn’t you put the two buttons hardly anybody uses, the Watch Later and Transcriptions, into this menu? Those two are still one-click operations.
This makes no sense and only makes watching videos a worse experience than it has to be. These people needs to go back to school and relearn how to make an application that appeals to users, instead of riding on the fame they have and their status as the (currently) most popular video upload site.
We’ve seen mightier giants fall into this trap before (*cough cough* IBM *cough cough* MySpace) and Google is world leading in development. Their developers literally wrote the book on modern web development and the traps that are out there, yet they keep falling into the very same trap themselves.

Former Google employee Steve Krug had this to write about modern web development: “On the face of it, “number of clicks to get anywhere” seems like a useful criteria.
But over time I’ve come to think that what really counts is not the number of clicks it takes me to get to what I want (although there are limits), but rather how hard each click is—the amount of thought required, and the amount of uncertainty about whether I’m making the right choice.”
To have a single-click action and change it to a 4-click action with 2 menus makes it hard to click, less self-evident that this is the button you want to click. If I came to Youtube today instead of when they had the old system, I would have no clue that you could even change quality or turn off annotations, because the hovertext for the button just says “menu”, so I’d assume it is the same menu you get when you right-click. It has the same symbol as the old “change quality”, a gear, the universal symbol for settings, but I only know that it brings another menu than the right-click (settings) menu because I’ve seen it before in that context. A new user wouldn’t have seen it in that context and won’t know instinctively what it is for and many users don’t have enough experience in computers to just randomly poke around with settings, in fear of messing something up irreversibly.

Krug also said:
Don’t make me think!
I’ve been telling people for years that this is my first law of usability. And the more Web pages I look at, the more convinced I become.
It’s the overriding principle—the ultimate tie breaker when deciding whether something works or doesn’t in a Web design. If you have room in your head for only one usability rule, make this the one.
It means that as far as is humanly possible, when I look at a Web page it should be self-evident. Obvious. Self-explanatory.
I should be able to “get it”—what it is and how to use it—without expending any effort thinking about it.”

It’s safe to say Google missed the mark on that one!


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