New feature to sort timestamp comments to enhance user views, engagements, and connections.
YouTube is a public video-sharing platform that provides the community a space to be creative and share information. I noticed the value of the timestamp feature in the comments during my studies at DesignLab.
The timestamp feature was used to categorize content and highlight any key findings from viewers. Why not implement a grouped view of all the timestamp comments and the option to read timestamp comments along with the video content? This could help people find information, connect and relate to each other quicker.
There are feelings of detachment, indifference, and poor connection between users within the comment section which gives rise to a collective fear of interaction and distrust
Adding a new icon to sort timestamp comments to create space and environment of support, and exchange of information and relation.
UX UI Design, UX Researcher
More than 80 hours of work
Prototype & Test
Users express their little interest in the comment section. Some compared it to a black hole or a rabbit hole. Some find a flash of positivity. After all, users have some form of interaction with the comments. Sorting comments by timestamp can improve user interactions.
My methods included primary research of YouTube statistics, user surveys, and interviews. Since YouTube is a very big company, I made sure to get as many participants as possible and as much insight into users' daily usage, interests, and interactions.
Users are nonchalant towards the comment section in the face of reading comments. Users also disclose the need to know what others think of a particular section to confirm their thoughts on how others may be reacting especially when it comes to current news and events.
Visual Representation of Data From User Surveys
1. Insights From User Interviews About Their Online Activity
78.6% of participants have used the timestamp feature before
78.6% of participants have never left a comment using the timestamp feature. that consumes the same content
More than 50% of participants view many hours of content and admitted to more hours than they realized
At least 35.7% read the comments about the content
User Interview Questions
User Survey Findings
Research Summary & Insight
2. Insights From User Interviews About Their Online Activity
Skipping the introduction of most videos to reach the information they want instantly
They find comments to be mostly negative, often validating, and rarely inviting
A weak feeling of 'belonging' to any community that consumes the same content
The fear of cyberbullying, negative responses, and no visible benefits for interacting
People genuinely want a better and improved online community
3. Insight Quotes From the User Interview
"No, why should I engage with strangers."
"No, I don't think sharing my opinion is relevant."
"I leave a comment when I find the video is impactful to me and the content creator is smaller in popularity. I want to support them and try to give feedback."
4. User Intentions and Motivations for Reading Comments
To know other peoples mindsets and opinions
To understand if others feel the same way as they do
To find out the credibility of the video through other's experiences
To learn something new
Conducting Competitive Analysis and Recognizing the Market
I conducted a competitive analysis to recognize how other platforms are carrying out their sorting features and the nature of their comment ecosystem. It provides a direction to identify opportunities and insight into how users use and interact with other platforms.
The global content uploaded on Youtube is its most significant facet. This is why sorting comments through timestamps will bring value to most users if not all. Relating to one another is an act of coming together. Users are looking to reach their goals and find ways of making connections. Providing this feature to sort timestamp is inclusive, diverse, and equitable.
The opportunity to strengthen user engagement through a sorted timestamp view is a way to invest in the growth of ideas within any community. Also, small businesses whose products and services are highlighted because of timestamps may benefit and attract customers, and hire people who are like-minded and more likely to be interested. Educational videos can feel more supported through sorted timestamp comments that will grow in time and are relatable.
Meet Max Agnes, Professional Baker, the Primary Persona
Personas are helpful to inform the process and development and for whom will the design be approached. It helps identify who is the most likely target audience to focus on during this process?
Max is an experienced professional Baker looking for a second career to pursue during a pandemic. He is exploring his inclination towards more technical computer skills over Youtube. Most of the time, he feels determined to find the 'right' career path in information technology, and there are times, he feels afflicted.
Max is a good representation for Youtube users who uses the platform for educational purpose, self-improvement, and self-progress.
User and Task Flow to Give Insight to the Most Direct Path Needed
User flows depict the different branches users may take which provides on how-to optimize the user journey and direction of the design process.
Task flows, on the other hand, are a linear process of arriving at the desired goal, such as the sign-up process and scheduling process. So having a clear task flow chart helps in creating the right flows of pages and navigation.
Empathy Mapping to Understand User Thoughts, Actions, Feelings,
One of the key exercises is to find the best solution to products. A useful product both serves the users and business to be profitable, efficient ad desirable.
The initial idea is to place the new timestamp icon next to other icons within the comments section due to its related function. It provides a way to empower people’s voices on YouTube by creating an option for a more organized discussion.
The new feature brings a sense of focus to the viewing experience - chronologically, by the most popular timestamp, or in sync with the video content with a visual cue.
What if users can get a recognition badge for leaving a positive content engagement using timestamp comments? How might we make this feature more visible and accessible, so users may feel predisposed to engage and leave timestamp comments? How might we provide a space for users to connect where it matters?
Early Sketches to Discover the Right Place to Introduce the Timestamp Icon
Generating sketches is a great way to play with different options, get early feedback and a nice break from a computer screen, and let the flow of creativity manifest.
Feature Icon Variations to Match YouTube UI
I made 5 variations for the icon to represent timestamps' sorting, conducted A/B testing multiple times, and re-iterated from the feedback to understand which placement and icon are familiar to users. It was challenging to get the right symbol to represent time, comments, and a stamp. No. 2 and no. 5 were the top picks and combined the two designs while keeping it simple and similar to YouTube icons to use for the next testing.
Prototype & Test
After gathering ideas, I did an early wireframe test and a high fidelity test to understand how users will receive the sorting of timestamp comments and how they familiarize its utility.
I had a total of 47 testers in the duration of 4 days. Both tests showed a gradual familiarity after the usability of the new feature. If more test is conducted with different content and a focus group, grasping the new feature may improve. In hindsight, I should've added a label to the new feature or during hover like a tooltip.
Low Fidelity Testing for Quick Initial Feedback of Feature Adaptation
The early test was validating to know that 87% of 14 participants identified the timestamp icon, and were able to familiarize themselves with its utility like sorting the timestamp icons by most popular, chronologically, and posting a timestamp comment.
Changes I reconsidered after this initial testing was adding a category for syncing with the video once the feature is activated.
Feedback From Early User Testing
"I think it would be very useful!"
"I was confused about the time-stamps in general as I don't really use them"
"I like the idea behind this Time-Stamp feature. It gives the user more options to filter by in addition to the widely used "Newest First" and "Top Comments."
High-Fidelity Testing for Usability and Utility
In the high-fidelity test, 80% of 27 participants identified the new feature. Even though it is a lower percentage than the early test, the consecutive tasks showed an increase of direct success because of the content display.
High Fidelity Prototype
User Quotes From Hi-Fidelity Testing
"It's great, so when I read the comment I know where in the video they were talking about"
" It feels like a hidden feature, but it's not badly hidden. If people care about it, they will not mind some action steps to get there. Interesting feature all and all. "
The testing showed gradual learnability and users were delighted. Users expressed the positive value it offers and validated the design process. A great sign of user satisfaction, 75% of participants from the high-fidelity test left feedback.
I am most proud of the depth of process in the research phase and the early wireframe test. I especially enjoyed observing user testing and hearing all the feedback. The next steps I would take to further improve the project would be to do more A/B testing and icon iteration, more user interviews, surveys, and testing for different demographics. I would also take this project and share it with other stakeholders to get more feedback and implementation.
During this project, I was reading Design Works by Heather M.A. Fraser to supplement this journey in understanding design thinking and business design. I am learning how to harmonize the mindset and toolset required to provide the best solution with the most value. I learned the importance of strengthening the basic knowledge of design principles to make each case study translatable to the reader.