Time to Trim the Interface?
I was rereading a comment I posted yesterday about how to get people interested in videos with a narrower base of interest to actually see them, and realized that this is all about attention. Then I happened to sit back and look at the whole page. Try it - scroll to the top of the page and look at everything vying for your attention. In the header alone, we have:

Site name/home page button
Facebook login
Facebook like button
Google+ button
Search field + link to advanced search
Light/Dark interface button
RSS feed button

That's seven functional interface elements just in the header. It is followed by a menu bar with 12 menus each with a sub menu containing 3-7 items. Before you even get to the two columns of videos that all want your attention, the right being fairly condensed, you've scanned over about 30 different interface items. That is more than the window bar, tool bar, bookmark bar, and tab bar of my browser combined. Even for users that have been around for a while, it's likely there are significant parts of the interface they've never explored. For a new user trying to find a good way to browse through videos, it presents an overabundance of possibilities and I'd guess they usually just page through whatever the default settings dictate.

This is just a critique of the interface, and certainly not of the folks that created it or all of the functionality behind it. There's really no reason to get rid of any particular functionality. But its presentation really needs to be streamlined. I could offer some suggestions, but I'm sure there are people around that are better at UI design than I am.

How much of VideoSift interface would you estimate you've used? There's already a poll up, so just answer below if you're interested.
Submitted by jonny
Comments (showing 5 of 5)
If you use google analytics, you can actually see how many percentages have clicked on each link...could be helpful.
written by gwiz665

I agree it looks a bit cluttered. Always tempting to strive for minimalism though you don't want to reduce too much. That said;

I never click Blogs. How about if someone has a blog that appears as a link right after their name?

The social media stuff could be on the frontpage only and removed from the header. If I ever did Like the site on Facebook I'm only ever going to do that once. Then again you'd miss the drive-by clicks if you did that.

Playlists. I'm betting that's not clicked a lot. I've always said that they need powering up and until then probably don't warrant a main link in the interface. They're more useful being discovered through each video.

Members. This could definitely be moved to a sub-heading.
written by Deano

Good point about google analytics. You can't interpret any of that data as representative of popularity or usefulness of different features, but it could certainly help point out where users are focusing their attention in the interface itself (are the submenus more or less used? what's the most common path to submitting a video?).

Minimalism can be, but isn't necessarily, a design goal. The Principle of Least Surprise should absolutely be one. There shouldn't be submenus that look and behave differently. The variety of decorations and information surrounding a video on the single video page is unnecessarily complex. Much of the information is of a similar nature (meta data about the video), but is presented about a half dozen different ways, sometimes redundantly. Another goal should be to group similar or related activities together, which they are to some extent now, but could be better consolidated. (Why are the different community activities - SiftTalk, Lounge, Blogs, etc. - all separated?)

I'm trying (somewhat unsuccessfully) to avoid specific suggestions to one area of functionality because this is the kind of change that needs to be comprehensive, not achieved with a lot of tweaks to the existing interface. The latter method is how it got where it is now, slowly accumulating elements and features for over two and half years since the last major overhaul of the interface. Given everything that's been added or changed since then, it's probably time to consider another overhaul.
written by jonny

I have to say I agree with you. It's been several years since our last overhaul of the UI. Because things on the web move so fast, we're a bit reactive in the way we add new features. Google+ didn't even exist when we did our last revamp. If anyone feels the inclination, we'd love to see some design ideas.
written by dag

I think we could clean up pretty good if we just changed or moved some things.

Rather than having the giant color salad that is the Video Hosts block, put it on the FAQ and maybe put a link to that section on the video submission form.

Speaking of the video submission form, it seems very strange to me that that is so well hidden while we have all this other crap in our face at every turn. But I digress.

Put the Login with Facebook button on the login form.

Put the Top 15 of [All Time|the Past week] and Current Users lists under the Members tab. Put Top 10 Lounge Lizards there, too. Or get rid of it: Who really cares who chats the most?

Move RSS Feeds to another page and change the feed icon at the top to link there.

Get rid of the Facebook Social Plugin. Why would I come to Videosift to see a link to Facebook that tells me what's going on at Videosift?

Is anybody using Videosift IM?

Take Useful Pages and the FAQ and put them under a new tab called Help.
written by xxovercastxx

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