Toogles is a Faster, Better YouTube Interface

YouTube, despite being the most popular video platform on the planet, isn't exactly known for its user-friendly interface. It's gone through a lot of iterations, most of which have centered around discovery, but none of which have tackled the most troubling aspects of the service, like comments.

To get an idea of just how reviled the interface is, just take a look at the userstyles available to give it a makeover, or search the Chrome Web Store for extensions that alter the experience. You'll find plenty.

My personal favorite YouTube tweak has always been QuieTube, but another service has come to my attention. It's called Toogles, and it — how should I put it? — rocks.

Toogles keeps videos centerstage, presenting them in a grid format, next to a minimal sidebar. While Quietube simply presents videos without distraction, Toogles retains much of Youtube's functionality, but discards the unnecessary (like comments). On the left sidebar, you'll see search, which works quite well, trends, and extras.

Viewing a video is equally pleasant. The player itself is a near replica of YouTube's official player, and you can still turn annotations on or off, add a video to your "watch later" list, go fullscreen, and change video quality. The left sidebar is there if you need it, offering a useful "info" tab and related videos. There's also a handy "home" button, which, as you'd expect, takes you to the homepage, and a fullscreen button, which minimizes the sidebar, showing your video in the full width of your browser window.

As I said, much of YouTube's functionality is retained. Even full profiles are supported directly in Toogles. Only playlists (and comments) don't seem to be supported.

What is noticeably absent is bloat. Toogle's interface is clean and comfortable- minimal, but without sacrificing usability. And it's fast. Really, really fast.

One of the biggest advantages I've found to using Toogles will delight fellow parents: it doesn't use your YouTube credentials. That means that you can bookmark Toogles, and, when you hand your little one your laptop, you won't be inundated with Minecraft and makeup tutorials the next time you log in (or is that just me?). Of course, you're not required to log into YouTube itself, either, but most of us are constantly logged into our Gmail accounts, and subsequently logged into YouTube.

Toogles is a great alternative if you're looking for something cleaner than YouTube's official interface, but want a little more than the spartan aesthetic of QuieTube and its ilk. Plus, it's open source, and offers a Chrome extension and a bookmarklet.


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