In recent years, the way viewers consume their media has changed drastically. Instant streaming services have become prevalent players in the industry, as Netflix alone accounts for 37 percent of North American bandwidth during primetime TV hours. These platforms allow people to catch up on network shows on their own time, with many of them offering their own original programming (House of Cards, Daredevil) that adds to their popularity.
Getting movies and shows streamed directly to your computer or television is extremely convenient for the modern consumer, but Netflix believes that its product isn’t as convenient as it can be. That’s why the company is going to launch a site redesign (the first in four years) in June 2015, with the intention of making it more user-friendly.
Netflix (via Wired) has revealed its plan to help the site evolve to reflect how a majority of its 60 million worldwide subscribers use the streaming aspect (as opposed to mailed DVDs). Instead of video store-esque rows of titles to click on, viewers will be treated to an “immersive home screen” to make the Netflix site seem more like an app.
Currently, when users click on a thumbnail of a title they wish to explore, Netflix takes them to a separate page that provides information about the project. If a person wants to return to the home screen to continue browsing around, they must do the (ahem) very difficult task of hitting the “back” button on their browser. The redesign eliminates the step, so now clicking on a thumbnail will simply bring up a fancy splash menu for whatever movie or show you’ve selected.
These menus will have a catchy featured image, a synopsis for the program, and tabs labeled Overview, Episodes, More Like This, and Details, so viewers can learn more about the show and see similar titles they may like. If you wish to watch something other than what you have originally selected, you simply X out of the menu and you’re right there on the home page. It’s a streamlined process that Wired likens to channel surfing on a cable box.
The improvements don’t stop there. Netflix is also changing its background color from white to black, in order to feel less like an online store and more like a home theater. The company’s also altering its carousel, making it easier for users to browse through their options. When the redesign is implemented, users can just click on an arrow and five titles will automatically slide into place. Netflix lead product designer Navin Prasad hopes that this animation creates the “feel of speedy interaction.”
Some may look at these changes and consider the “issues” Netflix is amending to be #FirstWorldProblems, but it is nice that Netflix took the time to make their site more interactive and sleek. As the tastes of consumers evolve, it’s important for companies to ensure that their services are modernized so they can stay ahead of the competition. Not that Netflix was in any danger of losing subscribers because the site wasn’t up-to-date, but it shows that they care about the concerns of their customers and are committed to giving them the best product possible. Ideally, these upgrades will make Netflix better than it already is.