Crunchyroll Beta Announcement

Crunchyroll’s Redesign is a Great Step Forward // Preview

Not a grand slam, but at least a base hit

Crunchyroll is rolling out a new site redesign for a small selection of premium users right now. I had a chance to check out the beta, and am very pleased with the overall changes. At first glance the site now feels easier on the eyes, and better focused on the things I go to for.

The front page now has a way bigger focus on getting you to anime instead of the news. Front and center is a giant carousel of the most popular shows. Below that are your “Top Picks” and “Continue Watching” is better located to get right back to where you left off. To get to the news you have to get down the page quite a bit.

It feels like the focus has shifted internally at Crunchyroll. Their business model has always seemed to be about the anime, but sometimes it has felt like less than top priority. No longer does that feel like the case. Anime is front and center with the new beta.

The Social Experiment

I am not a hardcore user of Crunchyroll’s more social features. Comments are something I barely peruse. Connecting with other users on the site is something I also don’t engage in. One thing I did notice playing around in the beta is the limitations on the social features.

At the moment it doesn’t appear as though you can upload or use your own icon or header image for your profile. It is a very limited selection of images as well from only recent anime series. Nothing classic or on the popularity level of One Piece or even Attack on Titan. If they aren’t going to let users use their own, then Crunchyroll needs to get some more variety.

Crunchylists are the new thing mentioned a few times in their blog post. You can create up to ten different lists per profile, which can have up to 100 series listed. There is not much beyond that, but Crunchylists are separate from your watchlist, but in the same section of the site. Now you can finish a series and add it to your “Best of Crunchyroll” list.

Crunchyroll’s Player Page

Nothing too radical to report from the updated video player page. Its the same video player running on the live site. The only difference is the default size of the player. Since the overall page is by default wider, the player itself starts in a slightly larger state. A slight benefit to otaku who like a fuller experience without the need to go full screen. It still isn’t as useful as a full width theater mode, but a welcome change.

Below the player is not much different from the current setup as well. Less information is laid out for a cleaner look. You know what series/episode you are watching, and can navigate to the next episode conveniently. Comments from other fans are also still available. If you are looking for much change here all you are getting is the darker theme.

Overall the new update to Crunchyroll’s experience is a welcome one. The whole site feels fresher and modern. It doesn’t break navigation throughout the site, and adds some new features that hopefully will encourage you the viewer to watch something you never considered. The beta definitively feels like a nice upgrade to the current site. People will complain, get used to it, and then eventually wonder how they ever used the old site design.

[Sources and Further Reading]
[Crunchyroll Redesigns the New Site]
[Image via Crunchyroll

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