Rumors have been swirling since January, but Netflix finally confirmed this week that it will launch a redesigned user interface for its SVOD (subscription video on demand) service in June, in line with its recent earnings-call promise to do so in the second half of 2015. But why all the hullaballoo over what seems like, on the surface, a few minor changes to how the menu looks?
Well, like a well-designed sports car, it's what is under the hood that counts. Netflix has built the new interface from a "mountain of data" gathered over the past few years, which includes how users interact with the current guide, what they watch, and what they tell Netflix in surveys and feedback. Also, "Netflix has been tossing out breadcrumbs in various configurations, and seeing how we gobble them up," an article in The Verge noted.
The new design's background color, black, will match that of the background on its mobile apps and on streaming devices and smart TVs. It will give users more information about a show and overall make the experience less clunky.
But helping readers find and watch a program on Netflix is just the start. Todd Yellin, VP of product innovation, told The Verge that getting a click or a start isn't a good enough metric. "We're looking for finding the right people to watch the show, because we want to promote our shows to the right people who will actually play it through."
Better personalization is a big goal of the new design. Yellin said that Netflix now pays attention to what its subscribers actually watch, versus what they rate highly or say that they like. A user may give five stars to a highbrow documentary, but "you might watch Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2, three times in a few years ... so what you actually want and what actually say that you want are very different," he told The Verge.
Netflix has already rolled out the interface to a few of its subscribers, with the rest of its 62 million-member base getting the interface next month.
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