January 20, 2023
YouTube TV has unveiled redesigns of its Live guide and Library feature. The new Live guide touts a more traditional timeline-based grid presentation, topped by curated recommendations. Overall, YouTube says the grid layout is condensed yet provides more information. It also makes it easier to record. The updated Library has added content management features, including a “catch up on your favorites” shelf. Instead of side-navigation, a row of filters invites content categories exploration. YouTube says “Live and Library are the most used pages by YouTube TV watchers, so we decided to focus on improving those areas.”
The Live guide updates have already reached some viewers. Changes to Library, which are geared toward content management through “better organizational tools to make your library feel less cluttered” will be introduced “over the next few months,” Esther Ahn, head of design for YouTube TV, wrote a blog post.
“We wanted to share our UX thinking,” Ahn continued, explaining that while viewers want more control, “decision fatigue is real when you turn on your TV with even more apps and channels than ever before.” Allowing subscribers to find content more easily and complete tasks in fewer clicks were among the priorities.
“Our members enjoy YouTube TV’s unlimited DVR, but those with larger libraries have a harder time finding exactly what to watch,” Ahn said. Likewise, when it comes to Library, “viewers are looking for easier ways to find the content most relevant to them, whether it’s jumping into a live game or seeing what’s trending right now,” she added.
For both Live and Library, “YouTube designed new side panels with shortcuts, like ‘Add to Library,’” and “a ‘Set Reminder’ shortcut is in the works as well,” TechCrunch writes, noting that “while overall, these are minor design tweaks and changes, making the product simpler to use is a competitive advantage when it comes to attracting new cord-cutters to the YouTube TV service over rivals, like Hulu with Live TV or Sling TV.”
Of the Live reboot, Ahn told The Verge in an interview that “this UI model is almost like the hybrid, I would say, of a grid and a feed. We’re continually thinking about how to reinvent television so that we don’t have to just rely on one model.” In her blog post Ahn emphasized the catch phrase “YouTube TV is ‘TV Made For You.’”
YouTube TV — which offers both linear and non-linear viewing — says more changes are in the works, “including those that would bring more flexibility and interactivity during live playback and make it easier to switch between user profiles, but did not offer an ETA as to when those features would launch,” according to TechCrunch.