Mobile viewers now account for approximately 70% of YouTube’s traffic — so it makes sense for Youtube to update its mobile app for easy navigation through videos. This week, Google shared that Youtube will be rolling out a new feature on iOS, known to employees by its internal name “swipey watch”.
According to the design team, the seemingly effortless feature took 2 years to develop. They have tried quite a number of different approaches until they found the one that worked best. UX research suggests, in many instances, swiping is energetically easier for the user than tapping. It allows for more accuracy: swiping typically engages a large part of the screen, making it easier to manipulate than a small button that requires a precisely-placed finger pad to function. Tapping is so 2018.
The Tinder-like swipe gesture that let you swipe right to watch next recommended video, swipe left to the last video you watched.
The swipe gesture works in both full-screen horizontal mode and on the vertical video page — where users can see what video is next before swiping. Swiping back to the previous video will resume where you left off instead of restarting the video. The feature aims to give users more control over video playback on mobile.
Swipe gestures are becoming increasingly common as a way to navigate mobile apps. With horizontal swipe navigation, YouTube is making it easier for users to move through its app, which, in turn, may increase user time spent on video content. They also could see people start to use the app for longer periods of time every time they launch it — which means more opportunity to monetize users through advertising and other in-app purchases.
If you think you are spending too much time on Youtube, it has a tool to remind you to take a break from the screen.
The swipe gesture update is expected to roll out this week for iOS users (Yay!). Android users will have to wait as YouTube hasn’t yet confirmed a date for an Android launch.