Everyone has something about themselves they're afraid to admit. Call it the Barry Manilow complex. Sure its over the top, usually mellow dramatic and cheesy, but you can't help but sing along. Outwardly you say how much you hate him, but how you love Sufjan Stevens or Bon Iver or some other "cool" and "credible" singer songwriter that earns you the respect of your friends.
I want to hate YouTube, I want to be cool and talk about how awesome Vimeo is comparatively (and they are), but YouTube is the first place I go to look for any video clip of — well just about anything. Sure the video quality is horrendous, and the player is clunky, the comments/commentors asinine and the videos hardly original; but where would I go when I NEED to find a clip of a ninja cat.
Originally a tool for hosting and viewing original video content, YouTube today consists of clips from TV shows and movies, concert footage and music montages — earning YouTube a "stink eye" from Hollywood and the RIAA (but who doesn't the RIAA hate? I suspect they even hate themselves). YouTube also has an active; though what some might consider "unsophisticated", community base. YouTube has become synoymous with online video and "viral" marketing -- making it an internet brand with equity rather than hype.
To my surprise, YouTube is organized, cohesive and fairly simple — considering the vast amounts of information stored within the site (which might be attributed to the influence of company owner, Google). I truly wanted to find more flaws and other than the overused "tab" styled buttons and thankfully limited use of gradients, the content remains easy to read with clearly understood information hierarchy (for links, icons, videos and other information). The content does not feel boxed in or crowded (though what one might consider somewhat "under designed", which again, is not unexpected given the Google link) - opting for lines as dividers of content, light gray for text that isn't as important, bolds and underlines for headlines and headline links. Video thumbnails are consistent in placement and size, while icons are fairly uniform in size, color and style (with a few "rogue" colors and sizes). The overall site utilized a simple 2 column grid (with a "soft" inner 2 column split within content). The purpose of driving users to videos without unnecessary distraction is admirable and well executed, even banner ads fit as well as possible into the overall grid.
Except for the few color deviations (yellow, orange, green), the site remains neutral, if not a tad bland and flat, but giving more reason for the uses to watch a video, than be consumed (or distracted) by less important content or elements.