• 30/09/2022
  • 10

How Netflix creates immersive UX design

What Roger Federer is to the game of Tennis, Netflix is to the world of online streaming and entertainment. Disruption, innovation and world class user experience is what Netflix does best. When it comes to offering an immersive user experience, Netflix is known to be constantly pioneering with their detailed research in their users. They invest heavily on knowing how much scrolling time it takes for a Netflix user to find a show or movie or do they give up and change the platform. When we are on Netflix, we have many titles to choose from and this can lead to indecisiveness. In addition to this, the more time you spend on the streaming platform, the pickier we become – we want to select the perfect title for us to watch and be satisfied from it. So how does Netflix manage to have such an impressive UX design?

Read more: Design tools for metaverse

Here’s how –
To improve their UX design and provide a smooth user journey here is what is hot and trending in their UX design process:

Primary Navigation: 

Netflix’s main and primary navigation has two main sections – 

Categories on the left ( TV shows, Movies, New and Popular)
Search, Notifications and User setting on the right. 

a) Search

Their interactive search will automatically filter results while a user is typing. Example, If you are looking for ‘The office’ it will also give you similar movies and TV show titles. You can also search based on actors, genre, director and producers.

In their search – speed is a key element when it comes to interactive search – and Netflix does not disappoint in this. In a fraction of seconds, a user is able to find results.

b) My List

A handy feature for content hoarders and users who like to save movies to watch for later. By adding a movie/TV show with the ‘+’ icon – it goes into ‘My List’ and is parked there for you to watch at your convenience.

c) Notifications

Users get notifications from Netflix about shows and movies Netflix thinks they might like based on their viewing habits. It will notify you when a new season is out, when the movie you were waiting on is now launched on the platform.

d) User profiles

To help them design user-targeted experiences based on who is watching
i.Netflix helps you build a few profiles for you and your family members, and
ii. It also helps each member with their own unique content curation and suggestions on what to watch.

Also read: How to deal with feedback as a product designer

Secondary Navigation

Building further on the immersive user experience, Netflix has the following:

a) Display Filters

When a user is searching – they can filter using genres (comedy, romance etc.) and then within comedy you can further select another genre or have it be sorted by ‘suggested for you’, ‘year released’ or alphabetically.

b) Content Carousel

We all know Netflix has many many options, to fit it aptly in one small screen  they use a carousel component – a slideshow – to smartly utilize the limited screen real-estate. So movies in Comedy can be stacked together, content similar to what you have watched – can be stacked in another carousel and so on. This allows users to make their own pick to explore. A user can cycle through these tiles in the same way across devices – desktop or mobile, making for a consistent user experience.

c) Autoplay

As a user, when you binge watch a show, Netflix offers you a handy autoplay option to help you get on to the next episode automatically without user interaction. It also aids a user to skip the intro and go straight to the start of the show/ movie. A feature – users truly appreciate and value!

d) Accessibility

A pride point for Netflix in their user experience is inclusivity and design for all types of audiences. The iconic red, black and white color palette offers sharp contrast on all devices. Another significant accessibility feature for the visually impaired users is the subtitle’s appearance options. Users can increase text size for close-captions so it makes it easier for certain users to read.

Not simply the entertainment industry, but many brands can learn on how Netflix via their many variations and options are both offering a great user experience but also using it as research to enhance and optimize their designs. This helps them to edit features or bring in new one’s for wider inclusivity and a smoother journey. They have been a master to follow design patterns vital for an immersive user experience.

Also Read: Product design trends in sportswear and outdoor equipment

Beyond these navigation pointers, Netflix is always interested to get to know Who is Watching (their users) and further getting to know them even more via many other features that essentially are built in to aid them to build a world class user experience.

 Its features like – 

Thumbs up/ thumbs down – part of their evolutive rating system that helps them rate movies and shows and gives them a good knowledge of your preferences. This is how they suggest a match percentage.

Double Thumbs up – Their new feature is adding another depth to the algorithm. Christine Doig-Cardet, Director of Product Innovation and Personalization experiences at Netflix said in an interview with an international firm- ‘We hope to end choice fatigue with new features that we’re adding and it’s a huge part of where we want to invest – providing those mechanism to give more of the control back to the user to help tailor their experience to their personal taste’

Play Something

One of their new features added a few months ago is coined ‘play something’ – it shows us a new series/film somewhat similar to ones we have already watched, shows we may like to re-watch or an episode we might have started and may like to pick up again. A great feature for people who are indecisive on what to watch and how to find the exact match to their preference.

Also read: The myths of UX design

New & Hot

One key feature of the brand is to have a tab that is dedicated to show trailers of upcoming shows, movies or limited series with dates on when it releases on the platform. It usually has three categories of recommendations, this includes Coming Soon, Everyone’s Watching and the Top 10.

Fast Laugh

Another key feature added to their kitty is the fast laugh section. This feature allows the user to watch ten second-snippets of movies and TV series. It’s basically the structure of TikTok and Instagram reels that helps you scroll through content within the Netflix platform – helping you choose what you may like to click on and watch as a full movie/ show.

While there are many more features in their user design – these are fine examples of how to keep your users engaged, immersed in your website without causing them fatigue. All these features are part of Netflix’s strategy for customer retention. As a global brand their prime aim is to collect as much right information as possible for their customers, and keep improving their own recommendation algorithm. Netflix clearly is one brand that understands UX and its importance towards a seamless customer experience. Their prime goal has been to stay innovative and inclusive in their UX design with a focus on personalization – a user needs to feel heard.

Also read: Product thinking – the next big thing in UX design

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