Doug Harris at Slate is giving YouTube a few pointers. His key message? Start adapting to Vertical Video, because it’s here to stay.
“Watch out YouTube,” Harris writes.
Vervid is what YouTube would look like if it was designed today.
It’s becoming increasingly difficult to ignore the mass behavioral shift of our generation toward video shot in portrait mode. Equally and oppositely, there’s a huge pushback from videographers and video “purists” that see Vertical Video as an absurd, invalid aspect ratio.
As Harris points out, “The problem is the viewing experience when you’re not watching on a phone.”
So can YouTube find a way to elegantly integrate both vertical video and horizontal video, both on desktop and on mobile? Doug’s solution, shown visually through a few mock-ups, suggests that YouTube should display vertical videos in their native format (i.e., sans bars) in both the browsable gallery as well as in the full-sized preview.
No matter how much they redesign, however, Vertical Video will just never look great on a laptop.
Here’s a visual comparison of YouTube‘s desktop-first preview gallery with Vervid’s mobile-first preview gallery:
(Image courtesy of Slate.com)
There’s a huge difference here. Because we’re dealing with portrait-shot video and ONLY portrait-shot video, we were able to build Vervid’s UI around a consistent, predictable form factor. The gallery scrolls side-to-side rather than up-and-down, which immediately makes sense when you get your thumbs on it.
But Instagram and Vine, on the other hand, are great examples of platforms that have embraced one form factor and normalized it to create a consistent viewing experience. They both serve up square content, and nobody complains because it’s been done really well (despite never being “full screen.”)
This is precisely why we invented Vervid. Focusing on users that want to view full-screen, immersive video the way they’re ALREADY holding their phones is providing an opportunity to engage with an audience that increasingly has its phones locked in portrait mode.
To add to this, mobile video consumption is set to outpace desktop video consumption very, very soon. And according to Cisco, 2/3 of the world’s mobile data traffic will come from video by 2017.
No matter how you look at it, there’s clearly an opportunity here lying in plain sight.
We’re spending more time on our phones than ever before, and watching more and more horizontal video with our phones on portrait lock. To ignore the opportunity of video shot by users while holding their phones upright, delivered back to other users in the same format, is to miss an incredible opportunity. It’s a behavioral shift not everyone’s ready to embrace, but it’s inevitable. In Harris’s words, “Deal with it.”
Scroll down past Harris’s article to the comments section and you’ll encounter a slew of people who are just not ready to “deal with it.” Captain Cuttle (an anonymous commenter) writes, “Vertical videos are a bigger threat to humanity than global warming, income inequality AND bird flu.” Really now. (Makes us wonder if portrait photography ever got the same hate.)
This inexplicable negativity is, believe it or not, a good thing for us at Vervid. It’s proof that NOW is the time to be innovating in the mobile video space. There’s friction, which is a clear indicator that a major shift is taking place.