Used since YouTube’s debut in 2005, the color red is a key part of the video-sharing platform’s identity that Google can’t simply abandon.
Having gone through numerous revisions and upgrades, YouTube’s interface has never given up its truly distinctive elements, such as its signature logo and the red color used to highlight key features like the good video resolution adjustment button and progress bar. That was never a problem with the classic YouTube interface, but with the introduction of Dark Mode the red elements didn’t fit as well.
Trying to fix the problem of overly garish shades of red in the Dark interface, YouTube is testing some color variations for the video progress bar in its Android app, going for a desaturated look. So in the new UI version the progress bar appears completely grey, turning red only when you interact with the player controls.
The grey progress bar is only displayed with the Dark interface, helping to make for a more relaxing viewing experience by harmonising the colour palette. Instead, for the Light interface YouTube decided to keep the red elements, which simply look better against the white background.
Even in Dark Mode, the grey progress bar doesn’t appear in landscape mode, because the playback interface switches to full-screen mode after a few seconds anyway. For now, the color palette doesn’t change elsewhere in the interface, with YouTube retaining the distinctive elements we’ve come to expect.
At the moment, the new version of the YouTube Dark interface is only showing up in the Android app for a small number of users included in the test group. Presumably, the change will be included in a larger package of improvements, which the platform administrator will announce in due course.