Home » Web 2.0 Applications » YouTube- “A Rich User Experience”

YouTube- “A Rich User Experience”

This blog will look at  the concept “Rich User Experiences“, the fourth or eight patterns as defined by Tim O’Reilly. From all the previous blogs ”
Harnessing collective intelligence” , “Data is the Intel Inside” and “Innovation in Assembly” we can see that the world of Web 2.0 is evolving at a rapid rate. Long gone are those websites that were static and not user friendly. It is important that websites/applications developed satisfy the user and makes navigation/find information easy or else users would not return to that website.

Fortunately, with all the methods of enriching websites and web applications there are plenty of websites that offer users such a rich user experience like never before. The website/application i will analyze today in relation to “Rich User Experience  is Youtube. Youtube is one of the most popular websites out there, i can safely say that everyone reading this blog would have used YouTube a some stage in their lives. However, Youtube has undergone various changes since becoming a huge phenomenon.


Youtube allows users to upload videos and stream videos, it uses uses Adobe Flash Video and HTML5 technology to display a wide variety of videos.

Here are some benefits/ features provides Youtube with  rich user experience:

1. Youtube automatically suggests video names based the letter a user has typed, the suggestion changes as more letter is typed in. For example if you type “G” drop down suggestion will give you suggestions such as Gangnam style, Google etc . This is such a great way of not only finding the content you want but it also draws users to other content based on youtube’s suggestions.


2. Youtube now can be linked to ones gmail, some may hate this but i find it convenient, by linking it to your gmail your search history in youtube will be saved and suggestions will be made based on your searches.


3. You can also share a particular video you like to other social media networks, very handy and efficient way. (This pleases many users a lot, since they can then share what they want to their social media account from YouTube).



Right, lets look at some best practices that Youtube has adopted from a rich user experience perspective.

(1) Combine the best of desktop & online experiences –

The youtube navigation is simple and easy as most should know, what has changed in the last few years is the YouTube application that is now available on almost all mobile devices/smartphones.  Whether on the desktop or mobile device the rich interactivity, high user engagement, fast performance allows Youtube to be a ubiquitous application that provides rich user experience.

(2) Usability and simplicity first

YouTube’s application is simple and easy to use providing all its users a simple yet rich user experience. I believe YouTube holds a big portion users using their services is not only because of the services they offer, but also because of the simplicity and usability YouTube offers. Thus, retaining their users. If you haven’t check YouTube out you seriously need to ask yourself what have you been doing! Go to YouTube now!

(3) Match the technology usage to the requirements

Youtube can be used on any devices that has a web browser (IE, Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari) or in the age we live in now with smartphones the youtube app allow users to use the YouTube technology. Currently, YouTube uses HTML5 and Flash to display its contents however this could well change in the future with a push towards HTML5.

(4) Search over structure

Searching YouTube contents doesn’t only come from the YouTube website itself, even google searches can also bring up Youtube pages.

(5) Deep, adaptive personalization

As mentioned early, YouTube brings in personlization to its users, based on their search history recommendations will be made to the user.  This adaptive personlization offers rich user experience because it will show content that the user is interested in or similar videos. YouTube user’s experience dynamically learns from the users behavior, anticipates needs, remembers preferences, and adapts as appropriate. Which saves time!


Watson, J. 2010 – INB(N)347 Week 5- Lecture slides




15 thoughts on “YouTube- “A Rich User Experience”

  1. Definitely agree with you about the usability and simplicity of YouTube! It is my favourite Web 2.0 application – I have never been frustrated with the way YouTube is organised – I have a great user experience every time!

  2. Hi Andy,
    YouTube has always been on top of the web 2.0 concept in designing a rich user experience. With many good changes such as providing alternative for flash, comments, knowing what you like and even combining with other services. Simplicity is the name of the game when it comes to any Google services and YouTube is no exception. Whats your opinion on the way YouTube recommends videos for you? Is it always right?


    • Hi Sukshans, well i find 90% of recommendations are correct for me, based on what i have viewed and searched for in the past, this is one of my favorite features from a YouTube users perspective.

  3. Hi Andy

    Youtube, along with anything from Google really, strongly exhibit search over structure and usability and simplicity very strongly. Youtube is an excellent example for this concept, great post!

    – Matt

    • Hi Matt, yes google really is setting the standard with good usability and simplicity, youtube shows that, throw in the rich user experience it offers and its a brilliant application!

  4. Hi Andy

    Youtube seems to continue improving their site. They add so much features that it has become very easy for people to use. I agree with you that Youtube could push toward Html5 since Flash is dying right now. I’m really glad that Youtube provide us more and more ‘Rich user experience’ each time we visit Youtube.

    Prapat W.

    • Thanks for reading, yes Youtube provides use with much more ‘rich user experience’ than in the past, i guess it will only get better. I think flash will be around for a bit still however soon HTML5 will be preferred buy many if not it already is.

  5. Hey there Andy 🙂

    Great post! Youtube is possibly the most popular video-sharing website out there! And it’s a great example of the pattern. Over the years, I’ve seen it change it add and change features and layout to provide users a great, rich user experience. I like that it uses deep, adaptive personalisation practices to provide the user recommendations on videos they might like. I love Florence and the Machine and found a lot of great songs by her through Youtube’s recommendations which I thought was a really nice feature of the service!

    Again, awesome post! Kind regards, Laura 🙂

    • Hi Laura, thanks for reading, i am also a huge fan of the rich user personalisation practices provided, without it i wouldnt find a lot of music i am interested in!

  6. Great Post, YouTube is the RUE-ideal. Very easy to use with all the things I need. But what you think about the advertisement that pops up in each video clip that you watch? Isn’t annoying for you? Do you think that YouTube should change this?

    • Well i am 50/50 on this Eman, i can understand why youtube is showing ad’s before playing a video, this sort of advertising gains them finances and also exposure, i dont see it going away anytime soon, but i hope there is an option to not have ads pop up!

  7. Great post, Andy, about a great application. Your post got me thinking about ‘rich user experience’ probably needs to consider different types of users. In the case of YouTube this would be first time viewers, regular viewers, first time uploaders, regular uploaders. Some of the features to help first timers might annoy regulars who are experts. Based on the huge user base of YouTube – how do you think they address the wide range of user experiences?

    • Hi thanks for reading, i think YouTube is quite easy to use but as you mentioned there is a vast majority of different age groups using the services, YouTube could have basic user function tutorials avaliable/ or maybe prompts when they are uploading first time videos etc

  8. Pingback: The World of Ubiquitous Computing | andytang28

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