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Vimeo rolls out total Web site redesign

Vimeo, the video sharing site for the artsy crowd, is undergoing a remake. And this new casting puts a spotlight on improved navigation, search, and privacy options.

In the redesigned Vimeo, video clips are more prominent on the page. Vimeo

Vimeo, the freemium-model video sharing site for the artsy crowd, is undergoing a remake. And this new casting puts a spotlight on improved navigation, search, and privacy options.

Beginning Tuesday, users can sign up to test run the new Vimeo design and features, which are planned to fully launch by the end of the second quarter, according to Vimeo Chief Executive Dae Mellencamp. The new site retains the general color palette and ethos of Vimeo, but with new style elements and advanced uploading options. That, and the entire site's back end was recoded from scratch.

"I think everything gets too complex, and what we're trying to do is go back to simplicity," Mellencamp said.

It's the site's first major redesign since 2007, when it had 500,000 monthly unique visitors. "That foundation was only set to hold so much," Mellencamp said. Today, more than 65 million users visit in a month. "If you look at the last four years in online video, the changes are enormous," Mellencamp said. In addition to simplifying user navigation and speeding up page loading, the redesign makes it easier for staff to add future updates.

In the new look, settings buttons are broad, fonts put on a few pounds, and vocabulary gets trendy; the "inbox" list of videos on the homepage is now "my feed," and subscribing to a user's videos is now an act of following. And say good-bye to menus with drop-down vertical lists. Vimeo eliminates sorting mysteries with visible, horizontal categories for videos.

Users will find there are more search options, including the ability to search through the types of creative commons licenses. Privacy also got some attention: users can hide video stats and activity within profile pages. And with orange ribbons draped across the the corners of private video thumbnails, there's no hunting and pecking to remember which videos were shared publicly. Users can now also block other users.

And this is Vimeo, so it's no surprise that the video players and thumbnails became more prominent. The video player on a clip page doubled in size, as did the space for displaying comments. Another perk for power users is the ability to upload multiple video files at once and throttle upload speeds to free up bandwidth.

In the new Vimeo, users can discover more videos tucked away in a pull-down tab at the top of the screen. The video bar displays videos from the user's feed and those recently viewed. It also shows recommended videos, a new feature under the category labeled "related videos." Vimeo

Users can sign up to join the closed testing period starting Tuesday morning at Vimeo.com/new. Vimeo said it plans to open up access for all members to test drive the new design in several weeks.

Open Your Eyes to the New Vimeo from Vimeo Staff on Vimeo.