What Hath Netflix Wrought?!

Discussion in 'TV & Media' started by Coloratura, Jun 10, 2011.

  1. Coloratura

    Coloratura Snuggle Princess Premium Member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2002
    Location:
    Ohio, USA
    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):
    [​IMG]

    This is the new layout (this is my actual screen):
    [​IMG]

    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?
     
  2. Mr. Adventure

    Mr. Adventure Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2001
    Location:
    Mr. Adventure
    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.
     
  3. Coloratura

    Coloratura Snuggle Princess Premium Member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2002
    Location:
    Ohio, USA
    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!"

    Yep, except right now, there's no "classic" option. This is it. Quite frankly, it's nearly unusable for me.
     
  4. Mr. Adventure

    Mr. Adventure Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2001
    Location:
    Mr. Adventure
    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.
     
  5. Coloratura

    Coloratura Snuggle Princess Premium Member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2002
    Location:
    Ohio, USA
    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.
     
  6. Owain Taggart

    Owain Taggart Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2009
    Location:
    Northern Ontario, Canada
    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.
     
  7. Coloratura

    Coloratura Snuggle Princess Premium Member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2002
    Location:
    Ohio, USA
    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.
     
  8. bigdaddy

    bigdaddy Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2007
    Location:
    Space Massachusetts
    I have noticed when websites change they almost always wreck things or make it more difficult for no real reason.
     
  9. Distorted Humor

    Distorted Humor Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2011
    Location:
    Z'ha'dum
    himm...might need to call netflix and express my displeasure...
     
  10. 23skidoo

    23skidoo Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2002
    Location:
    Fifth Circle of Hell
    [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).

    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
     
  11. Starbreaker

    Starbreaker Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2001
    Location:
    Chattanooga, TN
    That's basically the same interface they've been using on PS3 for awhile.
     
  12. cylkoth

    cylkoth Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2003
    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.
     
  13. RoJoHen

    RoJoHen Awesome Premium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2000
    Location:
    QC, IL, USA
    My Netflix hasn't changed.
     
  14. Nowhere Man

    Nowhere Man Commodore

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2007
    Location:
    Nowhere Land
    It's easier to deal with on the Playstation with the controller, but yeah I wish they would have left it alone.
     
  15. IndyJones

    IndyJones Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2002
    Location:
    Chicago
    Honestly the lack of any main focal points is making my eyes cross.
     
  16. I Grok Spock

    I Grok Spock Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2000
    Location:
    Tooling around in my Jupiter 8...
    So...watched Girls Bravo yet? :vulcan:
     
  17. Scout101

    Scout101 Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2003
    Location:
    Rhode Island, USA
    Am a Netflix user, but really don't like the interface. Old one OR the new one. Honestly, while the Blockbuster service wasn't as great, the actual interface was much better. Also had sortable categories that made sense for what I was looking for: Releasing this week, next week, as well as In Theaters, so I could add things to my queue when I was thinking about them and have them show up when they came out.

    The netflix system is an irritating POS. Honestly, i usually log into my blockbuster account (inactive), run my searches, and then type the names into Netflix manually. Not exactly ideal...
     
  18. Owain Taggart

    Owain Taggart Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2009
    Location:
    Northern Ontario, Canada
    Yeah, that's what you'd think. Sometimes I wonder if the designers ever end up using the websites they design. I'm not even a professional designer, yet I tend to see these things as I've self-taught myself at an early enough age, so design mistakes pop right out at me. Mainly the main reason why sites like these get redesigned like they do is due to what I like to call executive intervention. Sometimes it's not even a designer's decision, but rather an executive who has a bright idea on paper, which might not be such a great design philosophy, and then has the design passed on to the designer where it's up to them to implement, whichever way they see fit. Sometimes, I guess it can be a bit like a marketing group trying to come up with ideas where it's not a single person doing the job. Point is, that the person doing the actual designing doesn't always know or follow the design guidelines, and the end result is getting something like that Netflix redesign. Because an executive had something in mind and they want to see it achieved no matter what. I've often had people request things to be designed a certain way without knowing if it's possible or not to design it the way they want it. It's a bit like having someone who knows nothing about designing a house telling a designer how it should be designed. The house itself might look like it was designed by a kid in the end. To that end, that's exactly what it looks like happened in the case of the Netflix site. It looks like an executive wanted the site redesigned in a way they thought looked good and wanted their designers to implement the design, despite the fact that it removes some key usability points. I feel I stare at that website and wonder where my eyes should go, which isn't a good thing. At the same time, there's also the issue that a site can also be too sparsely designed. There's a website I visit from time to time that has gotten a redesign, only I feel like it's almost empty, to the point of not knowing where to go for the things I want. Then again, maybe it's because I've expected things to be too complicated.



    Ahh, yeah, the blog. See, the thing isn't so much the blog itself, but rather the way it's used. The blog originally was meant as a diary for people to have a place to write but and have a little corner for themselves for friends to follow if they wanted. I don't think it was ever meant to be used professionally. But like you say, that voice comes out and people tend to feel like they can write like journalists. Heck, I've even done it myself, I fully admit. The blog itself though? I think it breaks several design rules, but it also became popular after my webdesign course in college, so I can't really complain. Things evolve. I've recently helped convert my astronomy club's website to a blog format, not so much to be a blog, but for it to be easier to update and be more active and dynamic. I think that it serves the purpose as a content management system. So, design first, content second in this case.
     
  19. Coloratura

    Coloratura Snuggle Princess Premium Member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2002
    Location:
    Ohio, USA
    Indeed. That's what it feels like here. It feels like replacing function with form.

    If it bothers you, then you should. I have.

    I don't know if it will make a difference, though. Netflix is so ginormous that even if 200,000 people called, that would just be 1% of their total membership.

    That's what a lot of PS3 owners are saying. It looks like the design is similar to Roku's API as well.

    Amen.

    They've only applied it to the "Watch Instantly" section at this point. For those of us who have the streaming only service (I switched about 5 months ago), we're neck deep in fuzzy, blurry movie covers without rhyme or reason.

    Other than streamlining for API, there's no reason for them to change it, and even if API was the primary factor, they could have at least added more detail for the site interface. This is just silly.

    Yes. Many members are reporting nausea when they look at the site for more than a minute.

    Nope. I don't have it in my Instant Queue, either. What you're looking at is the "Recommended" page. There is no order to the layout. None.

    And you shouldn't have to do that. You'd think Netflix could manage to find a way to better organize their movies after the 10+ years they've been in existence. When your web presence is your primary presence in the business world, you'd think they'd want to present the best foot forward.

    A lot of us are asking the reviewers who say it provides "easier access to find great movies" whether they've actually used the site as of yet. The redesign makes it much harder to browse for new and different movies.
     
  20. Owain Taggart

    Owain Taggart Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2009
    Location:
    Northern Ontario, Canada

    Sometimes these things can actually be paid for. If it looks like an editorial but it's coming off like like an advertisement, it likely is. Case in point, just last night I was reading an article about Forza 4 on Jalopnik, when it was revealed that they were in partnership with them. It read exactly like an advertisement. Not to say it's a bad thing, as sometimes it's done in better ways without seeming like an advertisement, but they're usually pretty easy to notice when they aren't objective.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2011