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Netflix: The “Vast, Vast Majority” of People Like the Redesign. We’re “Absolutely” Keeping It

Netflix speaks up on user backlash

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Netflix: The “Vast, Vast Majority” of People Like the Redesign. We’re “Absolutely” Keeping It
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If you’re a Netflix user, you’ve probably noticed that the site has been redesigned. There’s also a good chance, judging from the comments we’ve received (and the nearly 5,000 on Netflix’s own announcement), that you don’t like it.

It would appear then that you have two options: get used to it or quit.

I personally believe that the backlash will die down in time, as it tends to do with other controversial redesigns (see Facebook, which is closing in on 700 million users). Still, a lot of those upset with the Netflix redesign are saying they’re going to quit the service. Empty threats? Some of them maybe. For others, probably not. Either way, it doesn’t seem to be phasing the company too much.

In an Entertainment Weekly article, Steve Swasey, vice president of corporate communications at Netflix is quoted as saying:

“Most of [the comments] have the same theme, which is ‘what was wrong with before?’ What we’re saying is we’ve tested this extensively, we know the vast, vast majority of people like this. It’s new, it’s easier, it’s cleaner.” When questioned about whether Netflix is planning on keeping the new interface despite the negative response, Swasey said, “Absolutely. We made it and tested it and researched it and tried it out and everywhere we tried it, it had a better reception. Otherwise we wouldn’t have made the change.”

WonderHowTo tells you how to restore the the former “Watch Instantly” layout, but it only works for the front page, so it’s not incredibly useful. You can log in and enter the following URL: http://www.netflix.com/WiHome?fcld=true

Looking back at this version now, I’m already pretty used to the new design, and I can’t see too big a problem with it. I wouldn’t mind if the ratings still appeared below the graphics, I feel (and I realize many of you disagree) the new layout makes it easier to take in more in less time.

For specific complaints from users, read this article and its comments.

Netflix: The “Vast, Vast Majority” of People Like the Redesign. We’re “Absolutely” Keeping It
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  • Dan Wars

    I really just miss the sortable list option. Date released, rating, alphabetical. Without these things, its really just a cluster of movies.

  • Mike

    I am not one of those “can’t stand change” types. I will take time to get used to a new design. This ain’t about that. They have removed basic functions that I (and a lot of other people) rely on.

    Hiding info to make you work to retrieve (basic info like title and rating) is simply a bad thing to do. Sorting is a basic function, not some aesthetic value. It’s gone.

    I am not some whiner like you and Netflix seem to suggest. I find it more difficult to use because functionality has been compromised, not because I haven’t taken time to ‘get used to it’.

  • http://none AthenaStorm

    It isnt just that the new layout is terrible or the scrolling, which i do hate, it is the fact that when I click anything it goes directly into the movie. I keep seeing tv shows with banners that say new episodes and I wanted to see what ones were new so i did not have to waste my time but i can not get to the episode list. The content is gone and thats the problem. I dont want to start stop shows until i can figure out if I have or have not seen it. They are pushing us into viewing it the way they want us to and making decisions for us. I want to be able to read something and decide if I want to watch it. For now though if this is here to stay then I will decide not to use it. If every one that quits moves to other services then netflix will loose there numbers and some one else will gain them and get the licenses for content. They are to big for there britches if they think they can treat us that way then release comments so rudely.

  • buck nuggets

    The elimination of the ability to sort by ratings and quickly get information about a movie results in a lot more time wasted trying to find a movie.

    Finding something really worth watching is now a twenty-minute PITA. I don’t know if I’ll quit it yet, but I’ll definitely be watching far less netflix in the future. And if I’m only watching one movie a month I’ll just cancel – it isn’t worth it.

  • Vizhon

    Please elaborate. How does not having information on the pages help you take in the information quicker? You have to hover over each image to get it to even display the movie name. It displays less images per page too.. The whole idea that the new layout makes anything quicker is unbelievable. What are you smoking? Probably the same stuff the guys at Netflix are smoking.

    • http://www.webpronews.com/ Chris Crum

      What I said is that it makes it easier to take in more in less time. I can simply go to Netflix.com and see tons of movies very quickly without leaving the page. It may not be so fast if you want to read the information an every title, but I guess I just don’t browse that way. I browse by cover, just as I would at a video store, and, if something catches my eye, and can mouse over and see the the information. I guess this is the equivalent of picking up the box from the shelf and looking at the back. I don’t want to read the information for every single movie, so this design eliminates a lot of the text that I would ignore anyway, and shows me more movies in less time.

      • Duane D

        “I feel (and I realize many of you disagree) the new layout makes it easier to take in more in less time.”

        Sure. And turning off my spam filters would allow me to get more email in less time. But is that what I want?

        No, I want to be able to easily filter out the CRAP that I’m not interested in.

        Cover art tells me absolutely nothing. I’ve seen many good movies with poor cover art and many bad movies with good cover art. Ratings and reviews are a much better indicator of how good a movie is.

        Unlike you I read the words, not just look at the pretty pictures.

  • David W

    Tonight I went to classic TV comedies, and it showed just 13 titles. I was in the section that should show all the titles available in that category w/out scrolling. Monty Python wasn’t on there, so I had to do a manual search to get to it. How is that an improvement in regards to supposedly making things easier?

    • http://www.webpronews.com/ Chris Crum

      If you’re looking specifically for Monty Python, wouldn’t it just be easier to search for it anyway?

      • Duane D

        To use your video store analogy above:

        If I go to a video store I can see EVERYTHING available (at that time) to rent. I don’t have to go to a book and look it up by title.

        Why should I have to do this on Netflix?

        I often browse categories on Netflix looking for something interesting to watch. If it’s not listed it’s the same as it not being available.

  • http://www.the-frame.com Jandy Stone

    I don’t mind the concept, what I mind is taking away the granular control in the genre pages, the ability to sort the lists, as others have mentioned. (I also find the page aesthetically ugly, with all that grey, and the layout looks far more suited to a tablet than a monitor, but that’s a sidenote to taking away functionality.) I also can’t find the checkbox to show things I’ve rated, which made the site utterly useless for me the other day when I just had a hankering to rewatch some old musical I’d already seen. I had to give up, because the functionality to browse things you’ve seen by date is now simply gone.

    I also don’t like that you have to mouse over to even see rating and queue information, and you have to click all the way through (which means hover and click on the title) to add something to your DVD queue rather than watch it instantly. The layout may be faster and easier for one use case (randomly browsing for someething to catch your eye to watch right now), but it’s much more cumbersome for many other use cases. Which says to me that Netflix is actively trying to stop us from using any other way than their “approved” way.

    Wouldn’t be surprised if the Instant Queue feature disappears, too, if they keep moving this direction.

  • Arturo

    How much did Netflix pay you off to shill for them like this?

  • Brian

    I canceled my account. I find it rather insulting that netflix is simply chalking this up to people afraid of change. I don’t mind change. Except when you expect me to use a vastly inferior user interface.

  • Jeremy

    I’ve got no problem with the Netflix redesign, as I use the service primarily on my Nintendo Wii… and the new site design just mimics the console version.

  • http://www.technologymonster.com William Clarkson

    Although I have issues with the new interface, I think the biggest problem is the way that Netflix is handling the feedback from customers. Netflix is always asking customer feedback in the form of rating movies. The home page ask “Your Name Here, rate what you have seen so we can reveal suggestions for you.” In other words, Tell us what you like, tell us what you don’t like and we will tailor to suit your needs. That, in my opinion is the absolute genius of the site. When people complained about the new interface, the response, not to the customers themselves, but through the media is that they were wrong, and in effect their opinion didn’t matter. Conferring a sense of ownership to your members is essential part of many successful websites. It is by no means an easy thing to do. It can ,however, be quite a easy thing to destroy.

  • Em

    Seconding some earlier comments – I have NO problem with change. When it’s for the better. Netflix is alienating a lot of users who watch from laptops and PCs while pandering to those using other devices. Tasks like sorting and scrolling have been virtually unchanged since the internet became generally available. They’ve become part of the way we use our computers, and the way we use the internet. Compare them to standard features on a car – like a steering wheel or turn signals. Change is good. Growth is good. Infuriating your customers is not good. The blog post has only 5000 comments because Blogger will not allow any more. One has to wonder how many would be there if it weren’t for those constraints. At minimum, a choice would be appreciated.

  • http://thebesthandtools Kacie Wagener

    I’m curious to find out what blog system you happen to be working with? I’m experiencing some small security problems with my latest blog and I would like to find something more secure. Do you have any suggestions?

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