An Easy CSS Trick to Make YouTube Less Distracting

YouTube is designed to keep you clicking from video to video, lengthening your overall session time. You can see evidence of this goal in the design of every page; from the homepage to a single video’s page, you’re bombarded with lots of suggested videos.

Here’s the problem: These suggested videos often encourage you to give less than your full attention to the video you’re already watching! I’ve certainly noticed myself clicking videos, watching a few seconds or a minute, and then having my eye caught by something else in the sidebar.

If you want to fix this problem, here’s a solution. Well, actually the real solution is to watch videos in full-screen mode, which I encourage. But here’s a secondary solution that uses CSS.

First, install the Stylebot extension in Chrome (or Stylus if you’re using Firefox, or some other CSS plugin if you’re using another browser).

Then, on any YouTube page, open Stylebot and click the bottom at the bottom labeled Edit CSS. Paste in this code:

.ytd-grid-renderer, yt-horizontal-list-renderer, ytd-expanded-shelf-contents-renderer, ytd-watch-next-secondary-results-renderer {
    -webkit-filter: blur(5px) grayscale(1);
    /* Safari 6.0 - 9.0 */
    filter: blur(5px) grayscale(1);
}

Once you’ve added this CSS code, your YouTube homepage should look like this:

…and a single video’s page will look like this:

If you need to see what’s on the homepage or in a sidebar, you can open the Stylebot menu and hover over the Remove Styling option. If you click it, though, your code will be erased and you’ll have to come back here to grab it again.

I’ll leave it as an exercise to the reader to add hover states to this code if they so choose.

And yes, I realize that sharing this code is actively against my own interests as a YouTuber who should be seeking to maximize the session time of my viewers. I’m ok with that; I’d rather help build an internet that doesn’t actively contribute to the destruction of our ability to concentrate on singular things for long periods of time – a skill I believe is essential for learning deeply and doing good work.