I’m a huge Netflix fan. I love their site and have spent many hours rating and finding movies and fiddling with my queue.
Given that fact, I thought it might be fun to write a post about 10 things that Netflix could do better on their site. Unfortunately, my list quickly degenerated into nit-picking, so I gave up.
However, there is one area I think is open to improvement, and that is the primary navigation.
Here’s the current navbar:
A number of issues stand out:
1. Why are three of the tabs large and three small? Obviously, Netflix is trying to assign importance based on the size of the tab, but based on whose criteria?
I doubt whether many people use the “Watch Instantly” tab more than “Movies You’ll Love” (which takes you to your recommendations page).
Netflix is trying to push their online movie service by positioning it prominently in the navigation.
However, navigation shouldn’t be used as a marketing tool and I’m not aware that this size differential follows any known web convention.
2. There are two home buttons — “Browse DVDs” and “Home” beneath it. There’s simply no need to have both; one of them should go.
3. Navigation labels are not consistent. For example, you can “Browse DVDs” but the recommendations tab only mentions “Movies You’ll Love.”
However, when I click on this tab I’m recommended movies, documentaries and TV episodes. This label is clearly inaccurate.
In addition it’s a little misleading to call this tab “Movies You’ll Love.” I don’t have to love every movie or show that is recommended to me to want to watch them, so there’s no need to sell it as if I will.
4. Navigation labels are overly wordy. Take “DVD Sale $5.99,” for example.
The word “sale” implies a price drop from the regular price. Therefore, you can’t have a permanent sale as all you have is permanently low prices.
So, you can’t really use this word in global (i.e. permanent) navigation.
5. There’s no reason for the navigation labels to be presented as graphics. Given the breadth of Netflix’s audience, it would be better to use actual text so that it can be resized.
Based on these points, here’s my stab at a revised navigation:
Although you can’t tell from the graphic, the labels and the tabs would now be resizable. In addition the tabs are as wide as they need to be for the labels on them.
I’d move “Queue” to be next to “Home” as I imagine it is the second most used tab.
The labels are also shorter and more to the point:
- Browse DVDs” becomes “Home” because that’s what this page is.
- Your Queue” becomes “Queue” — obviously, it’s your queue.
- Watch Instantly” becomes “Watch Now” because it’s simpler.
- Movies You’ll Love” becomes “Recommended For You.” I would prefer to use “Recommendations” as this most clearly describes what is behind this tab. However, that word is a little too long. I’m also tempted to just use “Recommended” but am not entirely sure if this is clear enough.
- DVD Sale $5.99″ becomes “Buy DVDs” because that’s what you can do on this page and it’s not a sale.
- The “Home” link in the sub-navigation goes away as it is no longer needed.
I realize that it’s pretty arrogant to redesign any part of a site — let alone the navigation — when you don’t know any of the issues behind the decisions that were made.
However, I think it’s interesting to try, even if it’s based on the opinion of one user.
Update: there’s an interesting discussion about the validity of my redesign over at Hacking Netflix.