YouTube Socials

Unlocking YouTube's Social Potential: Building Communities, One Video at a Time

Unlocking YouTube's Social Potential: Building Communities, One Video at a Time

Unlocking YouTube's Social Potential: Building Communities, One Video at a Time


YouTube is the #1 platform for online video watch, creating, and sharing. A hub for trends, cultural expression, and creativity.

Not only a source of entertainment, YouTube has become a platform for cultural exchange, knowledge, and diverse perspectives.

But how much of YouTube is actually “social” and what if you could share this experience with others?


UX/UI designer


80 hours (4 weeks)

Project type

Add a feature to an already existing product


Despite being the second most visited website, YouTube lacks a major aspect of being a social media platform: social networking.

Some main aspects of social media platforms:

  • User profile

  • User connection

  • Content sharing

  • Messaging & chat

  • Explore/Discovery

  • Interactions


Implement social networking features to enhance YouTube user’s experience, encourage engagement, and foster community.

Our Process






Competitive Analysis

Comparing 5 of the biggest video streaming platforms, I focused on their feature sets. When it comes to platforms like Facebook and TikTok, what sets them apart as social media platforms in contrast to other video streaming services?

Although YouTube dominates the video sharing market, it lacks key features that encourage user engagement and interaction.

Providing a method of communication and networking for YouTube users may help YouTube remain as the #1 video sharing platform.

User Surveys

After initial research, I asked 25 participants, between the ages of 19 and 34, about their YouTube usage and their perceptions of it as a video streaming platform. I asked a series of questions relating to what they expected and wanted from YouTube.

Overall, the participants expressed that they use YouTube purely for discovering, learning, and watching for entertainment.


of participants answered that it was important for them to have a sense of community


of participants were unsatisfied with what YouTube has to offer


of participants said they rarely engage in social networking activities on YouTube such as commenting and liking

User Interviews

Through one on one interviews with 5 participants, I identified some of the main pain points and needs that users had. The interview questions addressed their experience connecting with others, the challenges that came with it, and any comments about YouTube’s current social system.

Key Findings


Content/creator discovery feels limited to recommended videos on the home page

Reloading the main page often reuses content from the same source, which makes discovering new creators challenging.


Users feel unable to make a connection with other users

Asynchronous activity, anonymity, and limited user profiles make it hard to learn about and connect with others.


They want to see more options for interaction and engagement

Users are limited to commenting, liking/disliking, and sharing on a majority of videos.


Lack of methods to socialize within YouTube makes it inconvenient

There is currently no direct way to message other users on YouTube. Users need to share videos through third party.


User Personas

Based on the user research, I created two user personas: the viewer and the creator. Although their overall goals differ, they share common pain points and expressed a desire for a sense of community within YouTube.

Empathy Map

Being able to empathize with their frustrations and goals serves as a guide to which features and functionalities will target their concerns.

Overall, our user is looking for ways to transform YouTube, aiming to enhance the video streaming and social media aspects of their experience.


Feature Set

In the user survey, I asked participants to select and rank different social networking features in order of importance to them. With this data, I was able to make sure I aligned with user needs and prioritized the essential features. Group watch parties and adding friends were the most sought out.

Task Flows

From my research, I created ideal task flows to guide users through the platform's new features. By mapping out these task flows, we can make sure that all actions are as efficient, intuitive, and cohesive as possible.

Site Map

I integrated the social networking features onto YouTube's site map according to user research and feedback.



Taking inspiration from popular social networking platforms such as Discord, Facebook, and Twitch allowed for users to feel a sense of familiarity when introducing the new features. Certain aspects were kept consistent across the platforms including the “Create Message” button, Friend options, and chat tools.


Following the YouTube branding and UI, I created mid fidelity wireframes of the messages, group watch party, and friends list. Designing the screens with resemblance to current social media platforms allows for users to quickly familiarize themselves with the new features


Usability Testing

After creating a prototype version, I shared my design to test functionality and intuitiveness of the new features implemented. The unmoderated usability testing done through Maze allowed for interaction with user profiles, the search bar, the chat page, and certain buttons.

Main tasks:

  • Add & delete a friend

  • Search for a friend

  • Create a message

  • Create a group watch party

Key Findings

  • All tasks were completed successfully

  • 2 out of 6 users felt that some of the tasks were inconvenient

  • Users were satisfied with new features

  • Users would like to see more modern social media features (seen/unseen, pinned)

  • Users had an effortless time understanding and figuring out any new features/icons



  • Originally, the search bar in your Friends page was meant for both new users and current friends.


  • I created a separate search process for new users through the main search bar. The previous version was confusing to users as they thought it was only a search within your Friends list.

  • Added a list of recommended friends

  • Encourages discovery

  • Created a method to share videos through Messages from the video player

  • Added the option to create a group watch party from your Messages

  • More accessible/convenient


Final Design

View final prototype



Results & Impact:

  • Through research, thoughtful design, and iterative testing, it’s become clear that these social networking features not only met but exceeded user expectations. All participants expressed satisfaction and and content with the implementation of a chatting system, the ability to add friends, and personalized recommendations, reshaping how they view and use YouTube.

  • The addition of these social features made YouTube a more interactive and engaging platform, connecting both creators and viewers.

Reflections & Learnings:

  1. How to design by yourself

Because this was my first big “project” after finishing the learning courses at Design Lab, I was overwhelmed in the beginning with where to start. “How do I go about this? Am I missing any steps? Is this correct?” Despite the challenge, I relied on my mentor and colleagues to guide me in the right direction and am now more comfortable with designing from the beginning to the end.

  1. Design softwares

I wasn’t completely familiar with programs like Figma or Maze, creating confusion and uncertainty. I took the extra time to learn how to design on Figma efficiently with components, variants, and Figma organization

  1. Adding a feature in an already existing website

I learned how to design and brainstorm with existing constraints, helping me prepare for future scenarios where I have very limited freedom and control over projects.

Thank you for reading!

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