YouTube is rolling out support for horizontal swipe navigation of its countless hosted videos this week on iOS.
In a Popular Science interview with YouTube's video watching design lead Robert Thompson, this gesture based navigation, internally named “swipey watch” has been in development for two years. Before this feature was implemented, users were required to tap on either a related video under the currently playing video or on an arrow on the left or right sides of the currently playing video in order to change to a different video. This change enables users to swipe left or right through the queue of recommended videos that YouTube has generated for them.
A swipe to the left or right requires less effort on the viewer's part as opposed to the previous presses needed to activate the overlay of a video and then to switch to another video via the arrows in that overlay. This reduction of required movement in order to switch to different videos aims to increase viewership with mobile YouTube users.
The iOS YouTube app is getting this horizontal gesture based video navigation this week. Currently, there is no time table for when horizontal swipe-based video navigation will come to the site's Android app.