Wednesday, June 15, 2011

I'm Still Falling Out of Love, Netflix

I know I've already recently ranted about Netflix, but even in the short time that's passed since then, I've noticed a few other things that rub me the wrong way.  Since the latest couple of seasons of South Park are now streaming, I wanted to catch up by watching through season 13 on my bus ride. As I went to watch on my iPhone, I had to load and scroll through the entire list of streaming South Park episodes (which meant I had to go through all of the first 12 seasons before getting to what I wanted to watch). And I'll have to do this each time I want to watch the next episode.

Well, I wouldn't have to if the "Resume" link worked. It's not necessarily broken, but more often than not when I choose to "Resume" watching a TV series it kicks me back to an episode I've seen that Netflix somehow forgot to log that I've watched. So then I've wasted time getting to an episode I've already seen, I have to go back to my queue, navigate around to the episode I actually want to watch, and then load it. Since I'm doing this on my iPhone over 3G it isn't exactly blazing fast.

I know, first world problems, but much like I mentioned regarding Mint, I hate to see a phenomenal service start to get muddied down. Netflix streaming used to be amazing. Now it's only pretty cool. Soon it'll be merely functional, and I'm sure given enough time it'll be atrocious to use. I hope that I'm completely wrong, but I'm not confident I will be.

The other recent change that I find a step in the wrong direction is the watch instantly section of their website. No longer can you quickly shuffle through titles, but instead you have to slowly scroll through rows of movie covers. And in order to see the details of the movie or series you have to hover over the movie cover and let a popup appear that contains the entry's rating, summary info, and description. Before you could at least get the rating info without accessing the popup. And when you click on a title's cover instead of going to the title's page, it tosses you right into the stream of that title. To get to the information page for the title, you have to wait for the popup after hovering over it and then you must click on the title. It's kind of a pain to use.

In the last year or so, I can't think of a change to Netflix's interface, be it mobile or web, that has been for the better. I'm not sure what their goal is with the shift that they're making in their organizational structure and GUI, but it definitely isn't something I'm on board with.

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