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Old June 10 2011, 06:45 AM   #1
J. Allen
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What Hath Netflix Wrought?!

I don't know if anyone has been over to Netflix's site lately, but if you're a Watch Instantly subscriber, you should take a look at what they've done.

Now, I'm no web designer, but I'd like to get a web designer's opinion on just how totally and utterly screwed up Netflix's new interface is compared to their old one.

This was the old layout (I had to find this picture on Google since this UI is now gone):


This is the new layout (this is my actual screen):


A quick rundown of changes:

* They've removed the arrows to scroll through movies. Now it's an autoscroll where you have to get your cursor as close to the edge without passing the trigger that starts the scroll. Also, there's no speed change. It moves at about 1 movie every 2 seconds.

* There is no more title text. You have to look at the covers to see titles, and as any Watch Instantly customer knows, many covers don't have titles, particularly on older movies.

* You can no longer sort by year, star rating, new arrival, language or MPAA rating.

* To see movie info, you now have to hover and wait for the bubble, which lists a small amount of info. You have to click the "More Info" link to see pertinent information. Once you click that box, you are taken to the info page where you cannot go back except to click the back button in your browser.

* There is no more "See All" option, and everything is now recommended to you at seemingly random.

* The movie starts when you click on the cover art.

* The page isn't resizable. On a laptop or netbook, the titles take up 90% of the page and you can't access the motion sensitive edges. The edges are also unable to detect browser borders, so if you reduce your browser to anything smaller than full screen, you have to scroll over to the edge of the page, not the browser, to auto scroll the movies to the right or left. And then... you have... to sit... there... as... the movies... scroll by... every two... seconds... in a jerky... stuttering... slow kind... of motion. Oh, and the titles loop, so if you're not watching, you'll go around 5 or 6 times before you realize you saw these titles 5 minutes ago.

I mean, it's just a horrible interface, and the whole page is like that; like a sea of unending DVD covers. I'm guessing they're doing it to be more compatible with Roku boxes, Game systems with Netflix capabilities, Blu-Ray players, and so on, but all it's doing is screwing over the people who use the interface with their computer, which most people do, and from what I've seen, a lot of people are frustrated with this new layout. Granted, someone will always complain, but this interface is awful. I get sick and tored of it when I use it for more than 2 minutes. It makes everything more difficult, not less, and it's been two days with more than 1600 complaints at the Netflix blogger site HERE, without nary a response from Netflix itself.

So, what do you think? Is this a bad move? A good move? Anyone in this kind of industry want to weigh in?
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Old June 10 2011, 06:58 AM   #2
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Re: What Hath Netflix Wrought?!

Yuck, I just checked it out and it seems pretty awful. It seems like they went overboard on trying to make a fancy visual experience.

EDIT: Sort of like iTunes, there's a "Browse DVD's" in tiny print at the bottom that lets you get back to the older style page.
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Old June 10 2011, 07:01 AM   #3
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Re: What Hath Netflix Wrought?!

Mr. Adventure wrote: View Post
Yuck, I just checked it out and it seems pretty awful. It seems like they went overboard on trying to make a fancy visual experience.
It's like they said "we need new bathwater, let's throw this stuff out!" and someone replied, "what about the baby in the bathtub?!" to which they answered, "doesn't matter! We need new bathwater!"

EDIT: Sort of like iTunes, there's a "Browse DVD's" in tiny print at the bottom that lets you get back to the older style page.
Yep, except right now, there's no "classic" option. This is it. Quite frankly, it's nearly unusable for me.
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Old June 10 2011, 07:02 AM   #4
Mr. Adventure
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Re: What Hath Netflix Wrought?!

Shit, that didn't work, I thought it did but it looks as the name suggests to be truly only DVD's and not Watch Instant

I tried to turn javascript off to see if an alternative would be presented but when you do that, nothing shows!

Hideous, like if you click on more info, when you are done you have to start scrolling from the first movie again.
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Old June 10 2011, 07:21 AM   #5
J. Allen
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Re: What Hath Netflix Wrought?!

Exactly. It's actually slowing me down. They've taken away features in the name of slick and pretty, but from my point of view, it's neither slick nor pretty.
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Old June 10 2011, 08:44 AM   #6
Owain Taggart
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Re: What Hath Netflix Wrought?!

Yikes, that is pretty terrible. The info serves as a way for the eyes to have somewhere to go. Without it, it feels like it's just a jumble on the screen. Definitely looks like a case of a redesign breaking usability. I've seen lots of this kind of stuff happen in the past, and it always makes me wonder if those who design websites these days know what they're doing and take into account the usability of a website. When I took webdesign in College, we were always told that usability was key, that without it, people would less likely visit again. Sadly, it seems like a lot of modern site designs don't take into account design rules. Time and again I see perfectly usable websites go through redesigns that make me shake my head. Lifehacker and the gawker websites come to mind; sites that have become too busy in terms of layout for their own good.
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Old June 10 2011, 09:01 AM   #7
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Re: What Hath Netflix Wrought?!

Everyone seems to be gearing up for more mobile applications, like smartphones and tablets. The problem is that there will still be millions of desktop and laptop PC users who are now taking Dramamine tablets to visit these redesigned sites, myself included.

I figured most web designers, like yourself Owain, would take a look at the new site and wonder just how the hell a user is supposed to navigate through everything.
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Old June 10 2011, 12:37 PM   #8
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Re: What Hath Netflix Wrought?!

I have noticed when websites change they almost always wreck things or make it more difficult for no real reason.
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Old June 10 2011, 02:24 PM   #9
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Re: What Hath Netflix Wrought?!

himm...might need to call netflix and express my displeasure...
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Old June 10 2011, 02:45 PM   #10
23skidoo
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Re: What Hath Netflix Wrought?!

bigdaddy wrote: View Post
I have noticed when websites change they almost always wreck things or make it more difficult for no real reason.
[Old man voice] I've been surfing the Internets since 1996 [/Old man voice] and in all that time I've never come across a so-called "improvement" to a website that has actually been an improvement. I've always found myself with lost functionality and lost efficiency. I get the feeling these changes are made by people who want to justify why they're being paid $50,000 a year, and for no other reason.

My only suggestion is bitch and complain as loudly as possible to Netflix. Websites have caved before. Huffington Post launched a new interface last week for Canadian IP addresses that forced us to view only the Canadian version of the site. People condemned it so loudly they made major changes within a few hours, most notably giving users the ability to toggle between the US and Canadian versions. And it's become something of a joke how Facebook often caves under pressure when it introduces a boneheaded "improvement".

But unlike Huffington and Facebook, Netflix relies on your money - tell them they won't be seeing any more of your money and they'll change things back (or do what Yahoo Groups did when it faced a mass mutiny when it changed its interface and give people the option).

Owain Taggart wrote: View Post
Yikes, that is pretty terrible. The info serves as a way for the eyes to have somewhere to go. Without it, it feels like it's just a jumble on the screen. Definitely looks like a case of a redesign breaking usability. I've seen lots of this kind of stuff happen in the past, and it always makes me wonder if those who design websites these days know what they're doing and take into account the usability of a website. When I took webdesign in College, we were always told that usability was key, that without it, people would less likely visit again. Sadly, it seems like a lot of modern site designs don't take into account design rules. Time and again I see perfectly usable websites go through redesigns that make me shake my head. Lifehacker and the gawker websites come to mind; sites that have become too busy in terms of layout for their own good.
I'm a trained journalist, and I see a similar thing with these amateur news blogs. People think just because they can design a website or write news stories that they actually CAN design a website or write news stories. Just as competent journalists have to abide by the rules regarding libel and the use of reliable sources for information, so too there are design rules for layout - print or digital - that need to be followed otherwise it creates a mess.

Alex
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Old June 10 2011, 03:29 PM   #11
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Re: What Hath Netflix Wrought?!

That's basically the same interface they've been using on PS3 for awhile.
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Old June 10 2011, 07:37 PM   #12
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Re: What Hath Netflix Wrought?!

Coming on the heels of the terrible new PS3 UI-after 5 months of slowly releasing it to console users, it was rolled out in full 3 weeks ago, this website redo is a serious step backwards. I'm not opposed to change, but the change has to make things better than before, not worse. I had a really cool UI (on the PS3)...The queue and various genres were viewable on single pages, easy to find content and explore for things not in your queue. Now I'm stuck scrolling across in a single line, and scrolling too fast will freeze the app, forcing a reboot of the console. Both the new PS3 app and the website redesign, as stated by others, take away functionality and ease of use.

For that, both changes are epic Fails.
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Old June 10 2011, 07:41 PM   #13
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Re: What Hath Netflix Wrought?!

My Netflix hasn't changed.
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Old June 10 2011, 09:45 PM   #14
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Re: What Hath Netflix Wrought?!

It's easier to deal with on the Playstation with the controller, but yeah I wish they would have left it alone.
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Old June 10 2011, 09:58 PM   #15
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Re: What Hath Netflix Wrought?!

Honestly the lack of any main focal points is making my eyes cross.
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