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Last Thursday I was given access to the beta of Vimeo’s new redesign, a bold effort to to make the site feel very 2K12, rather than 2009. Here are some thoughts on the goods and the could-have-been-betters of the design.
– The UI is a ton cleaner, giving all the focus to the video. This is evident in a couple spots like the home page, which now gives you three different ways to view the site, the version above being my favorite. The large, bold preview images definitely take the focus.
– The top navigation now opens up to reveal a drawer full of options, which is a great way to showcase a ton of different places to go. It’s also nice that they spell out what each section will contain for people who are unfamiliar.
– The individual video pages have also been cleaned up immensely. All you really see is a giant video on your screen, the way it was meant to be.
– Text hierarchy has strongly enforced around the site, telling you exactly what you should be looking at, such as the titles of the videos which come in at a whopping 36 px font.
– The More Video tab at top is a nice touch, showing related content as well as videos you’ve recently views and other videos from the user who’s video page you’re on. Some people I showed said they wouldn’t have noticed it though, so perhaps it’s a bit too discrete?
– Glad they didn’t touch the video player, it’s perfect.
– They now give you a more clear option to switch between the Flash and HTML5 player. Unfortunately, the HTML5 player sucks and barely worked when I used it at home. That said, my developer friends at work said that HTML5 sucks at playing video, so this probably shouldn’t reflect on Vimeo.
– The sidebar feels a bit sloppy and slightly overwhelming. It’s definitely treated subordinately, which I’m sure is the point, but it ended up feeling a it neglected. Not sure if there’s a fix or if they should change anything, but it was something I’d noticed.
– The site is starting to feel more social, like you’d want to try and hunt down your friends and see what they’re doing. I didn’t get this vibe before and never bothered to look. The only users I followed were those making rad shit, using the site more like a bookmarking system.
Overall I’d say the redesign is a huge step forward, especially for it’s art and design-centric community. Looking forward to the Vimeo team to continue rolling out improvements like these, hopefully they don’t take another few years.