YouTube Channel Design: Revisited
Back in October 2009, we posted an article about the April 2009 refresh of YouTube’s Channels and how to make the most of YouTube’s channel customisation options - YouTube Channels 2.0
The article proved to be hugely popular (in fact it is one of our best viewed pages) but is now woefully out of date since YouTube has changed and improved its own design, including the way channels are displayed.
YouTube have significantly reduced the amount of customisation that the new Channel Design options allow. You can no longer adjust the colour-scheme or transparency of the various panels and fonts. This brings a greater uniformity to the vast majority of YouTube pages, but also restricts how much you can modify your Channel.
It’s the new style
To start customising your Channel, first make sure you’re logged in to YouTube.
Once logged in, you can switch your Channel into edit mode by clicking the Edit Channel button in the top right-hand corner. You will be presented with the edit panel which is divided into three tabs – Appearance, Info and Settings and Featured Tab.
The first option under the Appearance tab, entitled Channels Version, allows you to roll-back your Channel to the old style. This is discussed at the end of this article.
The Avatar option allows you to specify your profile picture. This is the small square image that displays next to the name of your Channel and is associated with all your YouTube activity.
The image itself is square and is displayed on your Channel at a size of 55 pixels by 55 pixels but it can be used elsewhere at different sizes (eg. at 176 pixels by 176 pixels as a Channel thumbnail image) and this size could easily change in the future. As a basic guide, you should produce a square image at a larger size such as 256 pixels by 256 pixels (YouTube will automatically resize your image). You can upload a JPG, PNG or GIF file. If you use a JPG make sure you set your compression to 100% (full-quality), this will ensure that your image doesn’t degrade too much when YouTube recompresses it.
If you choose to remove your avatar and then change your mind, just click the Cancel button at the top right of the editing panel to revert back.
The Background option allows you to specify a background colour and/or a background image file for your Channel. Click Choose File to browse to a suitable image file. You can upload a JPG, PNG or GIF file. If you use a JPG, make sure you set your compression to 100% (full-quality), this will ensure that your image doesn’t degrade too much when YouTube recompresses it. The file-size for background images is currently limited to 256 Kb.
Once uploaded, you will see the Repeat drop-down menu appear. This allows you to set the tiling of the background image. The image can be set to repeat horizontally or vertically or both. The background image is always positioned at the top of the page and centred horizontally. The main content of a YouTube Channel is 970 pixels wide on a desktop display (previously 960 pixels).
If you choose to remove your background image and then change your mind, just click the Cancel button at the top right of the editing panel to revert back.
Info and Settings
This tab includes some basic settings for your Channel such as the title, description and tags. You can hide your Channel temporarily by un-checking the Make my channel visible on YouTube checkbox.
The Default Tab drop-down menu allows you to choose which of the three tabs (Featured, Feed and Videos) will display when people visit your Channel. Setting this to Featured tab will mean users who visit your Channel will see the Featured tab first. The page layout of the Featured tab can be customised (see below), but it essentially highlights a chosen video and lists the others. Setting the Default Tab to Feed Tab or Videos Tab will take users to your Feed or Videos first. These pages cannot be modified or configured.
It’s also possible to send unsubscribed users to your Default Tab, whilst ensuring subscribed users are always sent to your Feed Tab. To do this, check the Always take subscribed users to the feed tab checkbox.
Although YouTube defaults to showing the Featured tab first, this tab can be disabled altogether, leaving just the Feed and Video tabs. If you’d prefer not to use the Featured tab at all simply uncheck the Enable featured tab checkbox.
If you want to use the Featured tab, there are four layout options available to choose from, each suited to a different style of use.
The Creator layout displays a featured video (or the most recent) at full-size at the top of the page. A list of Playlist summaries is displayed beneath the main video, followed by featured channels.
The Blogger layout displays a featured video (or the most recent) at full-size at the top of the page. Older videos are listed below with a large thumbnail, title and description, followed by featured playlists and channels.
The Network layout displays a featured video (or the most recent) at full-size at the top of the page. A list of featured channels is displayed beneath the main video.
The Everything layout displays a featured video (or the most recent) at full-size at the top of the page. A list of Playlist summaries and a list of featured channels is displayed beneath the main video.
But I liked it better the way it was!
If you’re not so keen on the new-look of your Channel and would prefer to stick with the old style, you can. Simply log in to your Channel, click the Edit Channel button in the top right-hand corner and then click the Switch back to the old channels design button under the Appearance tab. This will instantly switch your Channel setting back to the old style, retaining all your old preferences. When you’re ready to switch to the new style you can do so at any time. Be aware however, that YouTube may well force all users to adopt the new Channel style eventually and without warning.
You can find out more about styling the old version of YouTube Channels in our original article - YouTube Channels 2.0
Further details on styling the new Channels can be found in YouTube’s own documentation: http://support.google.com/youtube/bin/static.py?page=guide.cs&guide=1734705