How Netflix should improve its service

Posted by Andy Huggins on June 02, 2016

First, let me say this, Netflix is a great service. I have been a customer for almost a decade. The intent behind this post is constructive criticism, not to just bash on something. I recognize that many people have worked on their product for years, many of which are probably better developers than I am.

But I still have to use the interface that is provided, and every time I think about something, given my skill set, I know it can...nay, should be better.

So let's just do this already:

  1. Search - The search needs drastic improvement. REALLY! I have searched for an actor because I can't remember the movie they are in (just can't remember the name for some reason), but I know they are in it, and I know it's on Netflix Instant. I search for their name, and the movie doesn't show up. What the heck?

    Actual Example: Bill Burr. I search and it shows me the three specials he has on Netflix. However, it does not show me "F is for Family" or "Breaking Bad", both of which he is in, both are on Netflix.

    Another Example: if I search for "Stand Up Comedy" I do get some results. However I do not see "Tony Hinchcliffe One Shot" which came out recently. So this could be solved by some pagination, better tagging system so that things are labeled correctly, would be super bonus points if I could order by release date or "netflix release date" to see things that have recently been added. (Also, why does it only show 42 results for this search? I know there are more, how do I see them.)

    How to improve: Maybe an autocomplete that shows the top movie results, top actor results, and I can choose which type of search I am looking for. Or maybe some sort of IMDB integration that indicates which Movie/TV Show is available on Netflix.

    This is probably my number one gripe with Netflix, and it boils down to being able to find the content that I am paying for. 

  2. Categories - I'm sure it's based on some algorithm but the categories that are featured seem to be random. It would be nice if we could manage what category we want to see when we log in. Like I want to see what is "new to Netflix" everytime I log in just to see what new things I could be watching. It would also be handy to have "leaving Netflix soon" so that I could watch something if I won't be able to me for much longer.

    How to improve: create an interface to let us set which categories we want to see. Maybe only allow five so you can use your algorithm to figure out the rest.

    UPDATE: I see that there is some better options under the "Browse" menu, why aren't the sort features available under search?

  3. Not Interested - I see some of the same "cover photos" all the time, create a little icon that shows when I hover over a piece of content that would allow me to tell Netflix that I am "Not Interested" in this piece of content. This would mean that I would never see the cover photo in my categories again and I would hopefully see other, different content that is available to me.

    Actual Example: I have no interest in watching "The Do Over" ever. Like I will literally never watch that. So seeing it every time I log in is just kind of annoying because I feel like I am missing out on other content that I am interested in watching, or at least might be interested in.

    Over time this would be helpful in finding new content.

Those are probably the biggest things I find annoying at the moment, I feel the service does provide value and don't see my subscription getting cancelled anytime soon. But these improvements would really make the overall experience better in my opinion.