I’ve spent a while today looking over different video websites, and seeing how they go about presenting videos to their users. Some common themes emerge, unsurprisingly, such as the presence of featured videos on the front page (duh). What did surprise me, though, was the significant variation in look-and-feel and general pleasantness of interacting with the various sites. Below, I have ranked each site according to how I felt about their look-and-feel. Pertinent notes follow.
<li><a href="http://www.brightcove.com/">Brightcove</a> - Easily the slickest-looking of the bunch, Brightcove has a very polished UI that lends itself very well to browsing and searching. I feel like I have to knock off a few points from them for feeling <em>too </em>slick, but it is a beautiful site.</li> <li><a href="http://www.metacafe.com/">Metacafe</a> - Right on Brightcove's heels is Metacafe, whose design philosophy contrasts drastically with Brightcove (literally). Metacafe's UI very much reflects modern web design sensibilities with light colors and pastels throughout. I appreciate the large amounts of whitespace present on the home page; I don't feel like they're trying to overwhelm me with <strong>stuff</strong>.</li> <li><a href="http://www.youtube.com">YouTube</a> - Lots of content, and a pretty clean design. But. Lots. Of. Content. Jeez guys, how about a little room to breathe?</li> <li><a href="http://video.google.com/">Google Video</a> - It's very Googly, for better or worse. I appreciate their design sensibilities in areas like search, but here it just feels far too spartan.</li> <li><a href="http://soapbox.msn.com/">Soapbox</a> - I like the Soapbox look-and-feel, by and large, and I think it's much improved from their last UI, but it feels like videos are almost an afterthought. The video player has been shoved over into the corner in order to make room for a <strong>HUGE</strong> video browser. </li> <li><a href="http://one.revver.com/">Revver</a> - Watching videos appear to be almost an afterthought on their homepage. Almost the entire space above the fold is dominated by them trying to sell me on their services to make me money. I think Metacafe does a much better job supporting this scenario with their site design.</li> <li><a href="http://www.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids">MySpace Video</a> - It's MySpace alright.</li>