By: Donald Lee
Date: February 6th - 27th 2021
YouTube can be addicting, especially recommendations. Focomend is a Chrome Extension designed to filter out your YouTube recommendations and hide comments to prevents distractions and help you stay on track when watching YouTube.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, almost everything became remote; school, volunteering, and jobs. As a result, the time I spent on my laptop has increased, which also increases the number of distractions I have around me. When watching educational YouTube videos, other video recommendations would pop up. The moment you click on an interesting video, you will begin clicking on one after another, wasting time watching unproductive videos on YouTube. As a result, I decided to get Forest’s chrome extension which blocks out unproductive websites to stay productive online. However, sometimes I would need to go on YouTube to watch videos corresponding to the courses I took, so I would need to turn off Forest and enable it back when needed, which got quite tedious. To combat this issue, I decided to develop my own Chrome extension, despite not knowing how. As a result, Focomend was developed!
Initially, the plan was to blur out unproductive videos; however, while developing the extension, I noticed that it made YouTube extremely laggy when browsing through the site and watching videos. To combat this, I decided that instead of keeping the videos, it will be a lot less laggy if I removed them completely from the website. Although this was not a part of my initial plan, I realized that it is better to remove the video completely because if users could see even a little bit of the thumbnail despite it being blurred, it may spike their interest and disable the extension to watch the video. Since this was my first Chrome Extension, I also faced challenges in storing user preferences in their local storage; however, I was able to solve this issue through Googling!
In the future, I may want to launch Focomend on the Google Chrome store and further improve the user experience and UI/UX design of the extension.