YouTube is pushing a new update on its mobile app this week that makes it easier to browse videos. Users will be able to swipe horizontally to move between recommended videos on YouTube's mobile apps. The update is currently being rolled out on iOS. Swiping left will take users to the next recommended video while swiping right will bring back the previously played video. There's no word yet on when the feature will roll out on Android though.
The new horizontal swipe gesture is a major design change for YouTube's mobile app. Apart from giving users more control over video selection, the swipe gestures also make things easier compared to tapping on videos. YouTube confirmed the interface change to TechCrunch, saying it was rolling out this week to iOS users.
YouTube's design change could help increase user engagement on its mobile app. It may also make its users stay longer than usual given the sticky nature of swiping UX. Swiping left or right doesn't eliminate ads though, you'll still come across an ad once in a while when you're swiping left on the app. The move makes the interface similar to that of Instagram Stories.
The online video giant has been making some considerable design changes in the last few months. YouTube has been experimenting with its own stories format, adding a new dark mode, automatically playing videos on the mobile app homepage, auto-play improvements, and so much more.
YouTube's horizontal swipe gesture works similar to Snapchat, Tinder, or Instagram stories. In the last year, swiping has become a more common gesture for major mobile apps, considering the ease of use for most smartphone users and the increased engagement levels.
Given 70 percent of video consumption on YouTube is on its mobile apps, it only makes sense for the company to push for some major design changes. According to Popular Science, which cites the company, the new feature has been in development for around two years. YouTube had previously rolled out double tap gestures for skipping forward and backward while watching a video in the mobile app.
You can swipe left or right while watching videos on YouTube's mobile app to switch between recommended videos. The gesture also works while you're watching videos in full-screen mode. By making it easier to browse through videos, YouTube is making it easier for users to spend countless hours watching videos on its mobile app.