Netflix updates UI, now with vertical menu, easier to find new content

Netflix is making substantial changes to their UI in an effort to ensure finding what you want, easier. Anyone who’s dealing with a serious Netflix addiction knows after their favourite seasons are all done, finding good new content to sink your teeth into, is really difficult. You could ask for friend recommendations, but you have to go offline for that, what if the service offered that up on a platter? Would you watch more Netflix? Absolutely.

Netflix have shown off a new TV experience today that features a dramatic navigation shift, from the horizontal, to the vertical. It’s no accident that Search is now the top menu item, a simple press on the up button to get to. This is followed by Home, Series, Movies, +My List and the all important New.

The new UI has started rolling out across the world today (let us know in the comments if you’ve already got it). Netflix says the updated interface was a result of research and testing to ensure finding the right shows is a dramatically faster experience. With the new UI, it’s expected you’ll be able to get to what you want (searching or discovering) in just a few presses on the remote, rather than the current experience of relentless scrolling.

Searching and viewing new content when it gets added to the service is incredibly important, not only for user satisfaction, but also for Netflix to be able to promote their investments in original content. The changes make it far simpler to start browsing with either a TV series or movie.

Netflix appears to be moving away from such an algorithm driven approach based on previous viewing history and relying on users who have a pretty good sense of whether they are in the mood for. This may be an instance where we’ve reached the limit of past behaviour being an accurate predictor of future intents. Personally I’d love to see them invest in better AI to determine what’s hot, so you’ve watched the right content, ready for tomorrow’s water cooler discussions. I’d also love to see much more of a Spotify and Xbox model, where friends share what they’re currently watching or playing, so you can join them.

As you go about navigating the content, Netflix hopes you’ll leverage the ‘My List’ option, building a playlist of content for yourself. While there’s no hard and fast rules here, but when you sit down for some Netflix time, you’ll have to decide how best to spend your time, watching the next item you added to your cue last week, or scouring the New section.

Netflix are getting serious about listening and learning from their members, so let them know what you like and what you don’t and you may just see that suggestion make it into future iterations of the product.

Check out the updated UI in video form below.

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Jason Cartwright
Jason Cartwright
Creator of techAU, Jason has spent the dozen+ years covering technology in Australia and around the world. Bringing a background in multimedia and passion for technology to the job, Cartwright delivers detailed product reviews, event coverage and industry news on a daily basis. Disclaimer: Tesla Shareholder from 20/01/2021

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