VideoSift v6 (VS6) Beta Video Page

As our more veteran members have pointed out from time to time, it's been quite some time since we made any big changes around here. And as @dag announced last week VideoSift is 9 years old!

As the years have flown by and the Internet culture has continued to evolve, we, like ever before, want to keep nimble to continue making improvements so The Sift is still a place you will love to call home. VideoSift v5 was a pretty huge change, mostly for the better, though we know there are some things that have bothered people for a long time. The biggest thing we've felt in the past two years could be improved is that there is just so much content on every page, especially the individual video ("permalink") page.

We started working on a neat new layout several months ago with the hopes of revamping the entire site with this awesome new structure and functionality. Unfortunately, as sole developer of this project (for about 8 years now), real life has become a black hole of time and it's become too big a task to be completed any time soon, but we really wanted to at least get the video permalink page out there for you to enjoy but also to gauge user acceptance and decide if the rest of the site should go the same route.

I'm being long-winded as always, but now let me cut to the chase. We are here to unveil the the VS6 beta video permalink page. None of the site is changing right now except that page. It will be the new format for logged-out users always. For logged-in members it will default to the new format, but you can toggle it on or off with a link in the footer (on the video permalink page).

Here are screenshots of the sections of the new page layout and a description of what you'll find in each.


The new header menu bar is very minimal, just a very narrow band at the very top edge of the page. Immediately below that is the video, which will be as large as possible within your browser window, often going from edge to edge.

We have cut WAY back to just 3 navigation tabs in the menu (minus the Login button which I don't count because it doesn't actually navigate anywhere). We were able to simplify the body of the page by inserting much of our content into this simple menu.


Hover over the Watch tab to access loads and loads of on-demand, dynamically-generated video listings in the pop-open sub-menu. Here you'll find the Top New Videos, which you'll notice is no longer in a sidebar panel. You'll see as many as can fit on two rows in your window. Hot and Rising shows the hottest new videos that you'd also find on the homepage (with "hotness" sorting enabled). Just Published is all videos ordered by newest publish date first. Recent Hits is something new which shows you some of the top videos that you may have missed in the past few weeks. Upcoming shows videos from the unsifted queue.

Not pictured here is the "My Videos" sub-menu for members which lists your most recently submitted videos.


As any repeat visitor knows, VideoSift's meat and potatoes are videos and discussions, respectively. The Discuss tab is all about communication betwixt members of the community. Top Comments shows the highest ranked newest comments. New Comments lists all most recently submitted comments. Sift Talk Forum displays the most recent Sift Talk posts. Chat Lounge is a glance at the most recent chat messages in Sift Lounge.

Not pictured here is "My Comments" for members which lists all your most recently submitted comments.


One of the biggest and most valid complaints we've always wanted to improve on is that VideoSift is complicated! There's so much to learn and it's intimidating to new users, and we've never had a really good way to introduce the site well. Thanks in large part to a few members, but @Zawash in particular (via a rich Sift Talk post), we came up with the idea to put a bunch of introductory tips right into the header. We intend for this to be a go-to place for new visitors to dip their toes without getting overwhelmed.

This tab is definitely the one that needs the most expansion and development. We really just based it mainly on @Zawash's input, but we'd love for it to be even easier to skim through to learn even more about The Sift. You'll notice that this desire to simplify for new users is a reoccurring theme.

Video Details

Again, to simplify the page, we've removed a whole lot of the masses of content that's always been carried along within a video. Now we're focusing big and clearly on just the very most pertinent details.

You'll notice that the voting count for logged-out users shows a percentage of up-votes-to-total-votes. We feel this is a better way for a non-member to gauge the quality of a video. For logged-in members it still shows the normal vote counts like always.

Below the title/author/votes/sharing band comes "the rest." The main section starts out with the video description and the comment listing below that. It looks almost the same as it did before, but it's been simplified visually by hiding all the meta details/tools until you hover over a comment, so they look cleaner overall.

The sidebar is no longer a column with panel after panel of content. It's simplified to show just videos that we hope a user will really want to watch. The first section is Suggested Videos which shows the top videos from the past 4 days in the same channels as the video being viewed. The second and last section shows Related Videos.


Finally, here's the new page footer. Again, it's uber-simplified. The most noteworthy change are the tools at the top-center of the footer. There is a text size selector offering either the default text size or the larger text size. No, it's not a revolutionary idea, but it is definitely something that will help lots of members whose eyes ail them while on VS, such as @Boise_Lib (who cited our poor visibility as his reason for leaving) and @oritteropo.

The second tool is the standard Light vs. Dark site theme switcher.

The final tool which is only visible to logged-in members is the Beta Opt Out link which will allow you to turn off the new VS6 beta video page if you just want the old cluttered video page back.

Again, we're offering this up as a potential next great version of VideoSift (some day), hope it attracts more new visitors to stay for longer, and hope it makes it more usable and enjoyable for you our dedicated veterans. Let us know what you think, what's good, what should be changed, and if you have any technical issues (which we're expecting you will because you always do, don't you).

I love you.

(P.S. If you opted out and want to opt back in, click here. And there's also an opt-in link on the old video page, right of the video title.)

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