Updated by Kyle Wiggers on 06-15-2015: Added new details regarding the rollout.
As anyone who’s had the misfortune of using Netflix on a computer can tell you, the streaming service’s carousel interface isn’t exactly well suited to navigating its vast array of movies and TV shows. In fact, a third party company created an accessory app called “God Mode” just to address the issue. The ever-savvy streamer is apparently well aware of its aging Web interface, however, as Netflix has confirmed a plan to roll out a “richer, more visual experience” to subscribers worldwide over the next two weeks.
If you’ve used the latest Netflix app on your smartphone, console, or set-top streaming device, you basically know what to expect when the changes land. The updated interface, which the company demonstrated at the Consumer Electronics Show and in a blog post today, eschews the outmoded carousel for a streamlined grid of wide thumbnails. You can cycle through categories with a click (or trackpad or touch screen gesture), and selecting a title populates the space below with an “add to watch list” button and Netflix’s familiar metadata — star rating, description, release date, runtime, reviews, and the like. From there, you can see related titles by clicking More Like This.
Perhaps the best thing about the interface is the single-page design. All interactions take place within the selection grid, and unlike the current system, there aren’t separate webpages for each movie and show. It comes with a minor drawback — the 16:9 thumbnails aren’t as compact as the old 4:3 ones — but the interface is inherently faster; it takes fewer clicks and less page loading to start your streams.
Netflix has paid the user experience a lot of attention, as of late. The streaming giant launched a major makeover of its interface in early 2014, and recently redesigned the iOS and Android Netflix apps with an emphasis on box art and head shots. Netflix also announced its “Netflix Recommended” badge last month, a program the company will use to distinguish TVs that meet certain criteria for speed and intuitive control of the on board app, and the company also promised a “revamped TV interface” during its Q1 2015 investor call.
Some lucky users report the interface is already showing up for them. Unfortunately, we haven’t been deemed worthy yet. Good things come to those who wait, right?
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