YouTube Creator Studio

This project was a partnership with the Creator Studio Research team at YouTube. We had the creative freedom to take the project in any direction.

Fast Facts


UX Architect and Researcher

Group Size:

5 people


4 months


Pencil And Paper
White Board
Voice Recorder
Google Survey Forms / Analytics


Project Management
Sensitivity to Organizational Dynamics
Comparative Analysis
Survey Design
Heuristic Analysis
Usability Study


Our goal was to investigate and provide insights into the user experience of the YouTube Creator Studio. Creator Studio is a tool utilized by content creators on YouTube which is a video sharing platform to create, manage and share videos.

The Process

Interaction Map

We began by conducting background research to develop an understanding of our product and users. This led us to create an interaction map.

interaction map of the current youtube creator studio beta

Inteviews and Personas

We then ran a round of interviews with 5 content creators to understand their unique experience with Creator Studio. Two of them used competitor products(e.g. Instagram & Twitch) This led us to create characteristic personas. I was responsible for 2 of the 5 content creator interviews.


  • Content creator that focues on creating gaming videos.
  • Only has a few subscribers as he is a new YouTube creator.
  • He wishes to grow his YouTube subscriber count by uploading more often.
  • He has trouble deciding how to title, tag and edit his video descriptions in order to grow an audience.


  • Content Creator that focuses on karaoke, dance and make-up videos.
  • Over 7000 subscribers right now but is looking to grow to 10,000
  • Although she knows analytics are useful, she is intimidated from using new software she doesn’t have training in.
  • She looks up to other successful creators for aspiration but she is appreciative of how successful she has become.

Comparative Analysis

We then performed a comparative analysis of 9 of YouTube’s industry competitors to look at the innovations, trends, and successes in online content creation. I lead the design and organization of the analysis.

The analysis of 9 YouTube's competitors. See the attached pdf for more information
A Closer look at the Comparative Analysis


Next, we conducted an online survey for both YouTube content creators and YouTube viewers to gather quantitative data we could perform substantive analyses with.

Heuristic Analysis

Then we tested a set of heuristics of the current website. The portion I was responsible for was to develop the heuristics to test the Creator Studio. I based my heuristics on the Nielsen heuristics for user interface design in order to find rapid and easy fixes for the Beta.

Usability Test

Finally, the last portion of our process was creating and running a usability test. I was responsible for co-running the 4-task usability study gain a detailed view of critical interface and navigation issues with real users. I was in charge of 3 of the 5 participants to test with.

Finding #1 – Analytics, Searching, and Filtering

We had found that currently, new creators have a hard time using and understanding how analytics in Creator Studio works and its benefits. We also learned through our usability study that users had a hard time discovering features like the filter function and searching for a specific video.


1st – Pop-Ups

Use ‘pop-ups’ to notify users of new features available in Creator Studio. This could help users by providing tips and tricks to familiarize themselves with new ways to use analytics.

2nd – Personalize

It would be useful to let creators personalize their overview tab to choose what shows up there. This will only show content that is of interest to the creator.

3rd – Improve Search

Add the ability to improve the search feature by allowing the user to not only search for keywords in the title and description but also to search for features of creator studio.

Finding #2 – Tagging and Sharing

During our usability tests, it showed that sharing videos from Creator Studio was difficult for our users. Many were familiar with the main YouTube website to share but it was dissimilar from the Creator Studio version.


1st – Share Button

Add a button on the dashboard that would bring up a popup to show the various ways to share that video. Which would follow the design pattern that is live on the main YouTube website.

2nd – Mass Share

Ability to automate sharing a video to multiple platforms, directly from the dashboard of YouTube Creator’s Studio. This is similar to what other social media platforms currently do. This would save substantial time for creators because the alternatives have been to manually post on each website.

3rd – Trending Tags

Add the ability to see “current popular tags” when uploading a video. This could help spread the video around and reach broader audiences. This feature was inspired by Twitter’s trending hashtags.


Moving forward, there are many different considerations that should be examined. Our investigations, while they produced interesting results, had a few limitations. For our interviews, survey, and usability tests, we had hoped to recruit more users than we ended up working with. Another issue was the difficulty in recruiting content creators. We overcame this by also recruiting viewers to supplement the smaller pool of creators we were able to reach. Although working with both viewers and creators is beneficial, we had also wished to recruit more creators.

One of our recommended next steps is to increase the sample size by recruiting more people for our tests to reach a better level of saturation. Additionally, we recommend doing A/B testing with certain aesthetic and placement design considerations, such as choosing to display filter and search bar as two separate fields or combining them. Another consideration is to test the discrepancy between which areas in analytics creators fixate on longer, and adding those options to the overview tab in analytics.

Self Reflections


This project was a cooperation between the University of Michigan’s School of Information’s course on Needs, Assessment, and Usability Course and Google’s Youtube. The course taught us not only fundamentals of doing usability research but also the chance to practice with a real client.

1st Lesson

I found the most valuable part to me was the ability to practice what I was learning, as this is how I like to learn. During this time, I improved my organizational skills through the challenging milestones and the pressure of having everyone on the team contribute a fair share.

2nd Lesson

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned during this process was to be more empathic with other’s work habits. I had to be more patient and understanding of other’s work habits.

3rd Lesson

The other important lesson I learned was that I should not be afraid to fail. One of the assignments for the course was to develop and execute a live usability test with an application provided by the professor. As this was a live demonstration, I was nervous to fail. It was only later that I realized that ‘failing’ is an ugly word that can easily be seen as a new lesson that I could learn from. In the end, this was an incredible experience to be a part of, and I was able to practice and fortify my understanding of user experience research.