Tuesday, May 23rd, 2006

Netflix Queue Management

Category: Showcase

Netflix has been a pioneer of Ajax technology. They were first to come up with the ratings widget (before Amazon and others), and use inline popups when appropriate.

We just noticed that they have some new queue management that uses Ajax too.

If you are using Firefox or IE, when you add a title to the queue you will see a lightbox-esque message such as:

Netflix Queue Message

When the item has been added to the queue, another inline popup will show you other titles that you may be interested in.

Why not show this as a separate page? The popups do not take you away from where you were navigating. Once dismissed you will be able to add more titles based on where you were before you added the latest Sopranos DVD.

Posted by Dion Almaer at 8:20 am

3.8 rating from 52 votes


Comments feed TrackBack URI

It’s cool, but it absolutely kills my browser (FF1.5/Linux on a 2.6GHz machine with 2GB RAM). When the popup appears or disappears, it takes it about 45 seconds for it to fade in or out line by line, with the CPU pegged the whole time and the browser completely unusable for the duration.

Comment by anders — May 23, 2006

Hey, that’s pretty neat. I disliked that they always took you away from where you were. Works fast and clean on Windows2000/FF1.5/1.2GB/1.8GHz.
The fade works cleanly.

Comment by Terry Schmitt — May 23, 2006

I totally hate the interface! It interferes more than helping: I just want to be able to quickly add one movie then move on to another, don’t make me wait for something I’m not interested in!!!

Comment by ctran — May 23, 2006

This is one of the more over-indulgent uses of ajax out there. It runs slowly on older systems. It essentially loads an entire page’s worth of content on top of another page, which defeats one of the basic purposes behind using the technology at all.

They had another bit of ajax in there before — now gone, unfortunately — which allows you to add a movie and reorder the top of your queue via click and drag from the confirmation page.

I don’t know why Netflix wants to get fatter and heavier. The site should be about navigation and usability. People go there to order DVDs and then leave. All the whiz-bang just interferes with fufilling the site’s basic purpose.

Comment by Rebort — May 23, 2006

The lightbox feature works just fine on my 2 year old Dell D600 with 1Gig RAM running FF1.5, but from a UX perspective I really like the new interface. Previously adding a new title to the queue would always navigate the user away from the current page, and if you were already on a page with a list of movies that you were still exploring, you might not want to be forced to navigate away. I think a grand thing to offer would be a user configurable option to either show the recommendations lightbox after adding to your queue, or possibly using a much smaller lightbox that simply alerts you that the movie was successfully added to your queue with possibly a couple of small links to navigate to the recommendations page or to your queue. Now the thing that I still find ah interesting carry-over into the recommendations lightbox is that the recommendation results still show movies that you have already seen and rated… why? Netflix has obviously done a lot of work from a technology perspective, and obviously considered their customer’s actions in the design decisions, but there is still more UX work that could be done (for example, displaying the friend icon on movies in a list that my friends have seen and rated is great, but it really stinks to have to click on the link to go to the individual movie page to see what rating & comments my friends made). Well, here’s to Netflix and whatever is next in my Queue!

Comment by EricIsDeliriou5 — May 23, 2006

This new interface is an example of gratuitous misuse of AJAX. The new interfaces is much less usable than the old one and has dented my image of the Netflix brand. I was bemused to find this interface foisted on me. Poor show.

Comment by Amir — May 26, 2006

Leave a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.