So if you listened to the end of Episode 2, this is clearly not the episode on higher education websites. Fear not! It’s still coming, we’ve just made some changes to the production plans for that episode and wanted to push it out a few weeks to better address some of the goals we had for it. Stay tuned for when that will be dropping. Instead, this week we return to the topic of video, this time looking at the subjects of content findability and general platform UxD.
- 37 Mind Blowing YouTube Facts, Figures and Statistics – 2018
- 2017 on Netflix – A Year in Bingeing
- About 6 in 10 young adults in U.S. primarily use online streaming to watch TV
- Google Maps’ Moat
- How Netflix does A/B Testing
- How UX helped Netflix take over the world
- In UX we trust: Netflix as a case study in how good search isn’t good enough
- JOIN THE SIMIAN ARMY
- People are using Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime in very different ways
- Smart-TV Usability: Accessing Content is Key
- Why Does DirecTV Now Suck? (Michael’s shameless self-promotion)
Good evening designers and designerettes. You’re listening to the Drunken UX Podcast. The Drunken UX Podcast is brought to you by our friends at Gas Mark 8 at https://gasmark8.com/drunk. I am your host, Michael Fienen.
And I am your co-host, Aaron Hill. If you want to check us out on Facebook and Twitter, we’re at https://facebook.com/drunkenux and https://twitter.com/drunkenux.
We kept it easy because like us, hopefully you guys like drinking at night, and if you want to find us, we wanted to make it as easy as humanly possible. This evening, I am enjoying a refreshing, however surprisingly sweet, Redd’s Wicked Apple. I am drinking it out of my Bubba Gump Shrimp Company… what is this, a pint glass I think. One of the big glasses. I’ve already started, so we’ll see how that lands. I think I said that last time. I’m starting a trend, and I’m not proud of that.
I wish I had a glass of that. I have a Jack & Coke tonight.
Keep it simple, that’s alright. This evening we are talking about streaming services, streaming video, online video, TV, YouTube, whatever the case may be. We’ve got a couple different areas that we’re gonna talk about, including categorization and search. We’re also gonna be talking about just the general user interface in some of these services and hopefully give you some idea of what to do, what to avoid, and how you can help your users if you are using video on your website. Did you know, Aaron, I have some facts for you? I’m a big fan of facts.
Let’s here them. Wait, true facts or fake facts?
Well, true facts made up by people on the internet. I trust that they aren’t making it up. So I read it online, it must be true.
What do you got?
The trend these days, the younguns out there, are streaming live TV now by a ratio of about sixty percent to forty percent.
All the cord cutting. Right?
Right. Yeah. So when we talk about cord cutting, and I admit I am one of the cord cutters, I actually ditched my cable… hell, at this point three years ago, four years ago, maybe. There are twenty two million cord cutters as of last year. This is something that is definitely hitting the cable providers, and it’s one of those things, it’s like watching Blockbuster try to preserve their business model in the last few years.
Are there any Blockbuster stores is open still or they all go out?
Did you see the news the other day, I think was Friday, the last Blockbuster in all of Texas finally closed.
I wasn’t sure if that was an Onion article or if it was real.
It was absolutely real. The article notes, and it did specify the last Netflix in Texas. I had not looked to see if there are others floating around out there still. I think at this point they are old franchises that people owned, but people are definitely fighting tooth and nail. Here in Pittsburg, we do still have a video rental store.
We have a Family Video. We used to have a Blockbuster, but they definitely did not say open.
I don’t think we have any here. We have an old building that used to be one.
Ours is a pizza place now.
Nice, that’s a step up.
I think that’s a trade I will take any day the week. But all of this happens, we see this changing of the guard YouTube put out their annual stats for 2017 recently. They said on YouTube, every minute they have people, users uploading three hundred hours of video.
That’s so crazy. I remember hearing a stat like that before, that’s just… wow.
The scale of it is really hard. People hear it and they’re like, wow, that’s a lot of video. But I don’t think people really understand what that translates to in aggregate.
You could never watch all over YouTube ever.
No. YouTube services 1.3 billion users now. Billion with a “B”, it’s insane. And of those every month, we have 1.3 billion users on YouTube, three hundred hours of video uploaded every minute and every month people watch 3.25 billion hours of video.
I have a hard time wrapping my mind around those numbers.
That’s why I say the scale of this is something that people don’t necessarily grasp and how huge that is. In the last year, TV viewing has declined 4%, which isn’t a lot, but it is reflected in that 22 million cordcutting. But YouTube itself has in a 74% increase in usage.
Where else are you going to watch your cat videos?
I admit I’m as bad as anybody on this and whether it’s cat videos and… I was watching earlier today Try Not To Laugh, by the Fine Bros. Their react videos, Try Not To Laugh stuff. That’s a growth of exactly that. It’s America’s Funniest Home Videos, right? It’s the evolution of that very idea. YouTube is my background noise. When I’m working during the day, my goal is to put a YouTube playlist up and it just plays in the background. It’s that white noise, so to speak, whether it’s somebody playing a video game or movie previews or any of these things. When you think about 3.25 billion hours of video viewed every month on YouTube, I sit down, I think, hell, I probably watch four hours of YouTube a day. Well, not watch. My eyes are not necessarily glued to it. But it’s playing.
I usually, if there’s a song I wanna hear, I’ll usually look on YouTube first, because it’s just easier to find it.
Yeah, yeah. And I’ve used it, somebody was saying – there was a tweet about this I saw – a couple weeks ago that they were talking about when they wanna find a song, they go to YouTube to search for it, and that that speaks a lot to the usability of YouTube compared to music streaming services at this point in time.
My kids use YouTube to look for songs.
I will put in a song and then I will follow the song. Have you done this? You see what it recommends after that song?
Just let it autoplay.
You go down that rabbit hole until you find Bubba-John Smith doing a VHS recording in his garage, playing a jug, and you wonder why it’s 3AM and you’re still watching this.
But my favorite weird YouTube find was a backyard… like there’s a banjo, and I think a guy playing either kettledrum or a saw or something and they were playing Raining Blood by Slayer. It is amazing.
Think about YouTube. So we said we have 3.25 billion hours of video month. Where does Netflix fall into this game? Right. Netflix has hit a billion hours a week.
So it’s about four month, a little bit more.
So they’re hitting roughly four billion hours a month, yeah. So they have eclipsed YouTube, but you think about Netflix and how people watch that. I watch four hours of YouTube. If I’m binge watching a show, though, I’m gonna sit down in a day, especially if I’m sick curled up with a blanket, there’s eight hours a Netflix, boom, just out the window.
I watched Stranger Things 2 and Black Mirror, each in two days.
Oh yeah, and it’s easy to do and it’s easy to forget, as of right now, I’m sitting here in my office, we’re recording this episode. Where is my wife? My wife is in the living room watching Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix. It is how a lot of people are consuming television now. And Netflix isn’t the only one in that game. Of course, you’ve got Hulu, you’ve got the Amazon Prime, you’ve got a lot of folks. So start multiplying these numbers out over time. DirecTV Now is one of the players coming into the game to compete with Sling in the live TV market. They just passed a million subscribers to start the year. They are on pace to outgrow Sling or pass Sling, rather, in subscribers. Sling – I’ve used both, DirecTV and Sling – those of you who have read my blog, which is not updated often, and I apologize for that. The latest article there – I’ll link in the show notes – is everything that I see wrong with DirecTV. Let’s just say it’s a long article. You’re going to get some of it today’s show. If nothing else that should be entertaining.
Is DirecTV Now similar to, like, is it video-on-demand? I’ve never used it before, is it like video-on-demand like Netflix or Hulu or one of those?
It’s a little… yes and no. Yes. They do have video on demand. Is it like Netflix? No it is not. It’s more like a normal live streaming service that is supplemented with whatever video on demand is available. If you were to go to History.com and log in and watch a show there, they don’t keep their whole catalog there. I don’t know why. I don’t know why networks are caught up with this idea that they need to take stuff away. As those episodes go in and out, they also go in and out from DirectTV. Yeah. It’s very much targeted at a live TV replacement. They’ve said, AT&T has mentioned it in interviews that their goal is not to cannibalize their existing DirecTV satellite market. They are trying to go after people like me who aren’t subscribing to television via traditional means. I was paying, what, eighty bucks a month for cable. I pay thirty five bucks a month for DirecTV Now, and I get more channels and more functionality, and it’s on my terms, on my tablet on my Fire Stick, on my HTPC. So it’s hard to argue that I’m not getting more value out of that.
Did you see anything about YouTube TV? I think that’s what it’s called. It’s YouTube’s endeavor into the basic cable or the local news and sports and things. Basically, the reasons that people don’t finally make that cord-cut, YouTube TV is trying to capture that.
I was really excited about YouTube TV when they first announced it. I have not signed up for it and given the way it is, I won’t. I want to. I think it’s a good idea. I think their DVR functionality, I think the way they’ve approached that is a smart way of doing that, of solving that problem, but they do not have the selection and breadth of content. Their selling point was “we have your networks.” So I’m in the Direct TV Now beta program, I think I can say that. I signed an agreement when I got into that, and I apologize AT&T, I guess send me a letter or something.
You’re apologizing that we were talking about it here, but not about the screenshot you put in your blog?
No, the blog is only about the production environment. So I’m in the beta program, so I see stuff that is not released to the public yet. And one of the things that I’ve noticed that – it’s not there yet – but they have released to the public, you have Fox networks, they’ve got Fox affiliates deployed to most of their subscribers. But what I’ve seen in the guide is that I also have an ABC, a CBS and an NBC affiliate listed there. I can not watch them yet. I click on and I just get an error. But it tells me that it looks like they are working on that process and they are going to enter that level of competition with YouTube and get me my affiliates as well. And if that happens, game over. I have an antenna right now hooked up to my HTPC. That’s how I supplement to get football games and local news and all that. But if I’ve got that with my streaming as well, bam, all of that is now in one place. So that’ll be a game changer for DirecTV, if that’s sorted out and gets launched at some point. It could just be though, because there are a lot of bugs in DirecTV Now, it could just be a bug that I’m even seeing those.
Does DirecTV Now show ads?
Yeah, DirecTV Now is just like live TV. It’s literally a livestream of feeds from the cable networks. If you pull it up on a television and pulled up on your computer, you’re gonna see the exact same thing. Ads and all. Video on demand is just dependent then… same deal. It’s dependent on if the networks are putting videos, or advertisements and whatnot, in their stuff. They don’t have extra or different advertisements. So, let’s get started with search a little bit. Search is… it’s an anchor point in anything content related. Anywhere you’re consuming content, whether it’s Google, Wikipedia, your favorite role playing game website – of which I run one, theninthworld.com, just throwing that out there because I know everybody’s a Numenera player, and I have terrible search. I apologize for that. I’m working on it, give me a break. Sorry, what were we talking about?
That’s next week’s topic, we’re talking about your website.
Oh, we’re gonna talk about my site? That’s not a good idea. Not a good idea. YouTube, so YouTube search works really well. YouTube still to this day is the second largest search engine on the planet. I forget the numbers now, but they were serving of something like 1.3 billion searches a month or something like that. It was nuts, or a day or something. It’s crazy how many searches they handle, but it works well because YouTube is Google, right? Right. When you get to the long and short of it, YouTube is Google, it’s backed by Google’s technology. It’s backed by all their machine learning. YouTube takes all that information you type in whether it’s the description of your video, the categories, which we’ll talk about later, that you put your video in. They even look at not just the tags, they looked the file name. When you upload a video to YouTube, the file name matters. It doesn’t show up anywhere, but they use if you put words in your file name when you upload it, that does factor into the search findability of your video because it’s considered… it’s not an immutable fact, but it’s one of those things that they presume most people aren’t thinking about. So when they name their file “research-on-elephant-dna-final-3” and upload it, that those keywords of “research, elephant, dna” are probably very relevant to what the video is about. And that person probably isn’t manipulating those. It’s not great, and there’s not a good way to measure that. And by now, they maybe even changed it, I don’t know. But that used to be one of those insider little tweaks that you could do.
Keyword high jacket it. Put “Kardashian” in your file names.
They’re taking that information, but they’re also combining it with their own machine learning – what they can pick out of screenshots, because they have machine vision that can pick out things in the screen shots. They have the auto captioning, which can return important keywords to them, auto captioning factors into everything with search on that. YouTube is kind of like Google Maps. They are light years ahead of their competition across the board.
So you know how with Google Translate and then captcha, it’s these little things that are free services that are provided by Google. And then it turns out that like, oh, you guys didn’t know this but were using these services to train our AI. We’re using Google Translate to train the speech, or no it’s Google Voice, they’re using Google Voice to train the AI on speech and speech recognition. They use the captcha, you’ll notice – this has been noted by many other people already – but if you see a lot of pictures where it’s like, click all the pictures that have a car in them, that’s being used to train their Google driving thing, Google car, Google auto. So I wonder, is YouTube one of those experiments? What are the training for that.
Literally, everything. There’s an article, I’m gonna throw this article in the show notes, it has nothing to do with video at all, but it does have to do with what you were just saying. And I think it’s a fantastic read about how Google Maps is not just ahead of Apple, but they are orders of magnitude ahead and the way they’re training their maps engine to create data from data and using machine vision on satellite imagery and birds eye imagery, and combining that with other stuff and how they draw their own polygons and all this. The article is incredibly in depth and it’s a little dense, but it’s so good and it makes you realize just how far ahead of the game they are in some of these areas. And yeah, video is absolutely one of them. Think about how long it used to take for a video just to compile, encode, sorry. When you uploaded it, and compared to ten years ago versus now, or remember the days when YouTube only allowed you to upload twenty minute videos.
I remember when you didn’t have YouTube? You just had Ebaum’s World, or other video sharing sites.
And it was all in Flash.
Yes! Everyone had to download them to watch them later. So you didn’t have to cue it up again.
Netflix’s search isn’t bad. It works more often than not. They, of course have their own metadata on the back side of things. They gather all their own information on the shows and titles and things, and they bias it based on what they want you to watch, obviously, versus what you wanna watch, sometimes. I think one of the things Netflix has taught me, especially in recent times as they have been phasing out their DVD service is their search and other searches can be really bad about what they return when they don’t have a hard match. And obviously, as we talk about these, like YouTube, and Netflix and DirecTV are in very different markets. They’re all video streaming, but they are very different in their purposes. But a lot of these ideas, I think, cross pollinate really well. When we get to Netflix and I think about – this will date me a little bit – but I remember show, I think it is probably about 1996-97 called Earth 2. Did you watch the show?
I don’t think that I did, but I’ve heard of it before. What network was it on?
Oh, god, I don’t know. Let me see how many noises I can make into the microphone. I don’t remember. It was a cheesy 90’s sci-fi show, but it was good. It was about this ship of people that were sent to colonize a second Earth, and it turns out the planet they landed on had some kind of weird planet alien like it’s a living planet with these aliens who connect to the planet and there’s a boy…
We “discovered” the planet though, right?
It’s so cheesy, but it’s so good. And I’ve been looking for the show, and every once in a while, I jump on Netflix, I jump on Amazon, I see if anybody has it and they don’t. They can’t even offered to you. And I’m a little disappointed, I guess in… because obviously if they don’t have it, they don’t have it. They can’t give you something else necessarily. If I want Earth 2, I want Earth 2. But I feel like there needs to be a mechanism, particularly with a service like Netflix that would allow me to say, “I want this show” and check that. And then that gets ten thousand checks in a month, and somebody goes, maybe we should go get a contract to get that show on our service.
I can’t decide if when you search for something that they don’t have in the streaming catalog, I can’t decide if I think that it’s stupid that they don’t show that in the results or that it would be stupid if they did show in the results, because then it’s like oh there it is in the search results, and then it’s like, sorry, we don’t have this. Damn you Netflix!
Give me five minutes and we’ll talk about that. I think maybe the important lesson there, the take away is that those searches provide useful data. There’s good information there about what your users want and what they’re looking for, and I know Earth 2 is gonna be a niche show that I’m one of four people who remember that show. There are certainly other avenues where that’s true and there are plenty of popular shows that are not on any of these services yet for any number of reasons. And that’s all good data. And I’m sure Netflix is a smart company and they do things that I will never get to see, and I’m sure they do something with that. But as a user, it would be very cool to see. “We saw you search for ‘Earth 2,’ we don’t currently have this available in our catalog, but we have stored this and we will add it to our list of considerations for 2019.”
If it was like an Amazon recommendation where you search for Earth 2. And then Netflix says like, well, sorry, we don’t have this. But people who also search for that went on to watch these shows and then recommends other shows instead.
Yeah, that’s a great idea to keep me there. Keep me watching something because that is ultimately what their goal is. DirecTV Now… screw you guys. Your search is unforgivably bad.
Tell me about it. I’ve never used it before. I got to hear this.
So they have a search box that gives you live results. That in and of itself is not a bad thing. In fact, we can talk about here in a second, what we think about that, but live results work okay. But they do things like they break stuff down. So you have a pop up. It’s not like a screen take over, it doesn’t take over the page, it’s just a drop down. And in that drop down, they cram in three different chunks of search results. They’re set up with these labels that make no sense to a user. I understand them because I’ve dug into it now and I figured it out, but it was not clear at first go. They have “shows” and they have “programs.”
What’s the difference?
Now. Yeah. Never mind, I won’t even ask you the next question, because you get it. How do I know what is a show and what is a program? Now their distinction is that… here, I’m gonna explain it and I’m gonna probably get it backwards, actually. A show is the whole show. A program is actually the episode.
Yeah, that sounds like industry jargon.
So why don’t you just say “episode?” That labeling is super, super bad, and just having that mix of content means you’re only able to return to me in those quick results one or two vaguely relevant answers. You’ve chunked it up there’s some screenshots, and here’s where I will direct people to the blog post. I’ve got some screen shots of how their search looks. Check it out. Now, I haven’t tested it in their beta yet, and I should to see if they have improved upon that. But as of right now today, as we are recording this, that search is just painful.
Just speaking in terms of general UX practices, you shouldn’t use language that is specific to your organization, you should use language that your audience is expecting. Just in general, with anything. I think that was a big thing with Don’t Make Me Think by Krug. Don’t call your jobs link “joborama” or “employment opportunities,” just call it “jobs” or something very plain that people are gonna be looking for when they’re scanning. Same thing with the shows.
Even “careers” is pushing it, I think. I see that one a lot. Amazon, I have a lot of mixed feelings about Amazon search because Amazon is not just a video company.
I have used Amazon before.
I’m a Prime user. I have a Fire Stick for our TV. It’s not bad. I actually quite like it as a utility, but I just feel that their search is subpar, I guess is the way to put it. It neither wows me, nor does it totally let me down, but it definitely doesn’t feel like a great experience. And I think part of the reason why is that Amazon has the challenge that say, Netflix doesn’t have of mixing paid and non-paid content together.
Yeah, that’s annoying. If I go into Amazon Prime and I’m like, what’s new on here? What new shows or movies can I watch? What episodes can I watch? I can never tell, even on the – I have a Samsung TV – even on the Amazon app on that. I can never tell when a show is included in Prime or how to search for it, exactly. I kind of bumble around until eventually I find movies and then I looked through them and then either there’s something I wanna watch her there isn’t, but it’s not like with Netflix where it’s at least, you can browse around more, I guess. Definitely not like YouTube.
And even YouTube, I think, it’s gonna be susceptible to this as they try to push YouTube Red harder, as they try to push YouTube TV harder. It’s already happening in some cases where they’re starting to mix Red content in with some of their search results depending on if you’re looking for stuff that’s by some of their creators that go across the borders there. I don’t know how they handle that in the future because I think it’s really tough to try to push users towards a paid service, especially, and this is where maybe history plays a huge factor in search. If I search for videos, how long… YouTube came out in 2005, if my memory is right, YouTube has been around for about thirteen years. I’ve probably been using it almost exactly that long. There is a stupid amount of user history on me on that website. And in that user history, they will find, I have never spent a dime on their content, and I feel bad about that because everybody’s gotta make their money. But I do watch their ads. So you know what? It’s a wash. That goes both ways. But they should know that showing me that content is not necessarily going to entice me. I feel like if you are polluting my results that way, you’re just getting in the way of me getting to my results.
Yeah. If I have to see a mixture of content in search results, and some of it is the things that want, some of it isn’t, and then I go to watch some of it, it says, oh, you have to be a subscriber. I’m gonna be out of that site so fast, even YouTube. I’ll go somewhere else.
YouTube Red might be a subject all unto itself really, but they’re pushing it really hard, but a lot of companies have pushed a lot of services really hard over the years and fallen on their face. And I’ve just got a bad feeling guys. I don’t… I’m sorry YouTube, but I don’t think that you know where the value is here for your users. I hate to say it, especially because a lot of their creators, and one of my daily watches, is Good Mythical Morning. I love to see Rhett and Link being successful in doing their show on YouTube Red but, man, I ain’t gonna go watch it.
Yeah, I like you guys, but not that much.
So I’ll wrap up the search talk a little bit here. One of the things that a lot of companies are starting to implement is voice search. I think that’s great. I think it’s huge. I think it’s useful. I think it’s a gateway to more content. I hate the fact that it is restricted to hardware implementations.
What do you mean by that?
So we’re talking Rokus, we’re talking Amazon Fire Stick, we’re talking Android TV. Being able to click the button on my Fire Stick remote and say, “I wanna watch a movie with Brent Spiner in it” and get Independence Day. Awesome. Let’s go.
He’s in Independence Day?
Yeah. He’s the crazy mad scientist with long grey hair.
No way. Today I learned.
Fun fact. I have a sign photograph of Brent Spiner in that role.
Yeah, voice search is great. I wanna see in the web interfaces, I don’t know why it’s not, there’s no excuse for that, especially from YouTube. Google itself has voice search, if you’re using Chrome.
You can’t use voice search on YouTube?
No, I welcome you while we are sitting here, I welcome you to pull it up. While you’re doing that, and you can confirm for me in two minutes. The other thing is, I want a search – nobody’s doing this – I can’t understand for life of me why. I want a search that does not interrupt my viewing experience.
Yeah. You know, on the phone, the phone app, you can search while the video is playing, which sometimes is annoying when you start playing the video and it’s not the one you were looking for, and then you hit back and it’s still playing the video that you weren’t looking for while you’re trying to search for the thing you were.
YouTube throws it down in the corner, lets you go on. Beautiful. Love it. DirecTV actually stole not just the interaction, but the entire UI implementation. That’s going to be the future of their player, when you’re looking at the guide, not for search, unfortunately, but good on the phone. Same thing for the Chromecast, right? If you’re watching YouTube and you’re Chromecasting video.
Oh, I love it. The Chromecast, I got my mom one of those a few years ago for Christmas and love it. My siblings and I all sat there, jacked into the Chromecast, adding videos to the queue and shuffling around the priority of them. And it’s always a treat to see the stuff your siblings are listening to right now.
And it works perfectly. You can watch what you’re watching, and you can search for stuff, find stuff, add it to you queue. Your viewing experience isn’t interrupted at any point.
And it’s fun. It’s fun to sit in a room with your friends or family. When you each have your own devices and you’re queuing things up secretly, and then you’re all like sharing, watching it. And then as you’re thinking things you’re adding them and there’s no interruption. And it’s kind of like a collaborative viewing experience, which is very different from how watching living room TV was with cable, where you all decide on a channel and then watch it. While your dad flips to see what else is on during the commercials.
YouTube is the closest when you are watching a video, you can click the little watch later button in the corner of videos. It’ll add it to your watch later play list, but it will only do it for the videos on that page and you can’t search and go find something that isn’t there because it will take you away from the video. That to me, I think one of the most egregious and weird violations of the user experience with video right now online, why I cannot continue to have something playing and go search for other stuff. There’s a huge opportunity there that’s just being missed by literally everybody. Vimeo’s not doing, YouTube’s not doing it, Twitch isn’t doing it, Netflix isn’t doing it, Amazon isn’t doing it, DirecTV isn’t doing it, Sling isn’t doing it. Take your pick of anybody, all of them interrupt your viewing experience to search. I just… I don’t know what to make of it.
They’re smart people, so I would like to think there’s a reason they haven’t done it, but I suspect it’s probably just slough.
The next part of search, and this actually dovetails with last week’s episode, which if you didn’t watch it was on ecommerce, I highly recommend it. It’s an hour of us going at carts. But, categories… We talked about sorting mostly in the ecomm episode. But categories dovetailed with that, I think a lot. And it dovetails here as well because again, when you’re dealing with lots of content, whether it’s video, whether it’s products, whatever the case may be, categorization of that stuff to help find it is incredibly important because that’s how our minds work. Our minds work by compartmentalizing information. Yet YouTube doesn’t use them. Certainly not in the traditional sense, right?
Yeah, they show the recommended ones when you go to the home page.
They have those broad-spectrum…
They used to show subscriptions, and I know that I have some friends who were YouTube creators and that’s been a thorn on their side, that YouTube doesn’t show your subs page on the home page, it shows your recommended ones instead, and usually the recommendations are trash. It’s like old stuff or I don’t know. I don’t wanna watch it.
It’s funny because their categories really are all built around user interactions. Here’s what’s recommended, based on what you’ve watched. Here’s what’s trending, based on what other people have watched. Here’s stuff you’ve already watched, do you wanna watch it again? You can’t go there and just be like “I want watch to science videos. I want to watch comedy videos.”
That’s true. I’ve even thought about that.
Yeah, if you’ve set up a channel you go in and you say, I’m an arts and entertainment, or I’m an internet and technology channel, or whatever the case may be there, but that applies your whole channel. On the video level, there is no searching by category, and it’s kind of fascinating from a research standpoint, I think, because of how much data… We talk about how much video, 300 hours a minute are being uploaded, the sheer volume of stuff, and they’ve avoided that question.
I don’t know that I want YouTube to have categories, now that I think about it. I like the fact that it’s kind of a giant archive that we search and you can creatively think up, well, I really wanna see I Get a Kick Out of You played on the accordion, sung in Portuguese. And I bet that video exists somewhere.
And I don’t disagree.
If you have categories like arts, entertainment, or science, technology or whatever YouTube decides to make categories, then everybody tries to pigeonhole their content into those. And I think that would really put a damper on the creativity.
Yeah. I absolutely don’t disagree. I think that it was smart. I also think it was accidental. One thing I’m trying to remember right now when I was using YouTube in 2008, did they have categories then? And I honestly, I just can’t remember. And that was something I didn’t look into before the show, but that’s something that I think is interesting. I think it’s something they fell into that by the time stuff was taken off and was just going, by that point it was too late.
Yeah. Spotify has been doing on the main Spotify player page, they do a thing where they have these different curated playlists, each ones like 20-30 songs or something, and have different thematic names. And I don’t know, sometimes I just wanna go on there and listen to the playlist that I made because it’s songs that I like, and I like to code while doing those.
You know what’s interesting is that while YouTube, I feel like it’s on one end of the spectrum of they don’t use categories. They don’t need categories, they’re doing great without them. Then you have folks like Netflix and DirecTV who have gotten the whole other end of the spectrum. And I don’t even understand what you are trying to do.
Netflix such a shit show. I can’t speak for DirecTV, but oh my god. The Netflix categories are… they show the same movies in multiple categories. Even ones you don’t like. Here’s a show that we think is a 6% match for you, you should check it out. It’s like, really guys?
I was doing some looking on the Twitters and @ChezCore had this to say. He said:
Netflix categories don’t make sense. “Recently added” stuff automatically becomes “trending now” stuff because it’s new & everyone’s watching it, and because it’s new, and trending, it’s automatically “popular on Netflix” it’s all the same. Wtf @netflix
— David Smith (@ChezCore) January 27, 2018
And that’s true, it’s the same kind of problem that you get this duplicative stuff. If you’ve already showed me… showed me? Shown me? I don’t even know. Orange is the New Black. That is a Netflix show. You’ve shown me Orange is the New Black first thing as a “popular on Netflix.” If I scroll down two rows, why do I see again? I shouldn’t say why, I know the answer to that question. I know it’s because Netflix wants you to watch that show, so they’re gonna keep bombarding you with it.
Right, but it’s a frustrating experience for the user, which leads to a bad user experience.
And then the Continue Watching and My List are below all of this. I have to scroll down the page twice to get to my list. The thing that I created, that I want to watch. Those are the normal categories, those are the ones that makes sense. Then you get into… @davidmhenry said:
I love how Netflix sometimes comes up with very specific categories. Today's:
Chilling Independent Supernatural Movies
— Dave Henry (@davemhenry) January 28, 2018
And I know for a fact that he isn’t making that up because I have seen that category show up in Netflix.
I have seen that or something very similar.
It’s like when I log into Netflix and I see “Television Shows with Aliens Who are Looking for Love In All the Wrong Places on Tuesdays”… Guys, let me tell you something, I think you’re trying too hard.
What’s funny is that the movies they put in these categories, if I recognize the movies, I’m like, yeah, okay, that’s fair. But yeah, it’s just strange that they would have… I don’t know, reminds me a lot of the Pandora labels when you look at the Pandora Music Genome project tags on the bottom of the songs and it tells you the different tags using for the songs. I reminds me a be a bit of that.
I think the bigger problem too, you can get away with that. I’m not gonna split hairs over the fact that you wanna make up these weird categories. Fine, do that, as long as everything else makes sense. And the problem, especially with Netflix and Amazon has this problem. DirecTV has this problem that… I don’t know who is in charge of their taxonomy and chooses to put things in the categories they go in. But at a very high level what they consider sci-fi, and comedy, or let’s say romantic comedy. If I see Taken in the romantic comedy category, let me tell you something, guys, you need to pay somebody a lot fucking more money to get them to do their job right.
I have a very particular set of skills. I kinda wanna see Taken as a romcom. I wanna see that. Can somebody recut this?
Thirty Shades of Taken? I have a certain set of skills. And the safe word… nevermind. This is going to go down a weird path.
The safe word is “throatpunch.”
The categorization on these is… I don’t know guys… If you cannot get the basics right don’t dive into the advanced side of the pool or deep end of the pool, rather.
Remember when Netflix had that prize, I forget what they called it, but it was… if you could get an algorithm that we do recommendation that was accurate more than 95% of the time. Remember, they did that? It’s multi million dollar prize. I don’t know if was ever awarded or not.
I do not remember that, but I trust you. I trust on that.
Yeah. They had a thing for that. It was probably six, seven years ago. They’re ratings, their recommendations, confidence score, whatever used to be really good. And I remember seeing that they were very honest about it. Well, we’re 60% likely that you’re gonna like this movie, or like 98% that you’re gonna like this one. And it was pretty accurate usually, and we rated something thumbs up or thumbs down, or back then it was stars, they would show you, we think you were likely to rate it by this number of stars based on your viewing history and your rating history. That was really good. And I thought it was very useful, but the thumbs up/thumbs down thing now, I don’t know how they’re doing the ratings, because I made a new profile on my Netflix account. It was saying shows Stranger Things 2, which I like, but wasn’t appropriate for this profile that I was creating, it was saying a 98% percent suggested. I was like, why? Because I haven’t watch anything on this profile. Why would you say I wanna watch this. I don’t know what they’re doing with their percentage ratings now, but it’s different.
That I can’t answer. I do think that thumbs up/thumbs down, and they’ll be a couple links in the show notes about Netflix’s usability testing. So do go check those out. The thumbs up/thumbs down I think comes from that idea that we talked about this last week, right? Most people tend to rate things ones or fives. And there’ll be a glut in the middle as well, and if all your values are in one three, five, and you don’t get that nice bell curve, that figures out, or that shifts based on true quality. I have a feeling they were finding out, they found in their testing, that they had a reverse bell curve.
You’re probably right. And I agree with you. I don’t think it’s a problem they doing thumbs up/thumbs down. I’m just unclear about how that’s affecting anything. The profile I was creating, Well, I didn’t create it. My kids created it. It’s for their dog who likes to watch a dessert baking show while she was home alone. She’s anxious. I’m not making this up, I’m serious.
Wait, I need you to go back about the… I don’t know how much I’ve had to drink now, but I don’t think it’s enough to have misheard what you just said. So I want you to restate that for everybody.
My daughter made a Netflix profile on the account for the dog. She’s a little Dachshund/Yorkie mix, to watch while she’s home alone because she gets anxious and she likes to watch Zumbo’s Desert Challenge or something like that. I saw this come up on the profile, I didn’t know what was going on with it. But I saw the dogs name, and then I went in and I started finding different dog related shows and movies, and then adding them to the list and then thumbs upping dog and animal related movies, and a couple others that I thought she might like, and thumbs downing everything else, hoping that it would start recommending dog related content. It didn’t. I was truly disappointed. I thought that would be a really fun prank.
Holy crap it got weird. So let’s take a second, slow down a little bit. We’ve talked about search, we’ve talked about categories, hopefully that was… maybe it wasn’t useful, but I hope was entertaining. If it’s not entertaining, maybe let your dog listen to it and see if they wanna listen more episodes, I don’t know. I wanna talk about, in a broad sense, just the general interface of watching videos and this applies to the players. It applies to the video chrome on sites, but it also applies to the entire experience as far as I’m concerned. And this includes whether it’s the Fire Stick, a Roku, Android TV, all these different experiences will come into play a little bit. And I think it all matters. I think though, the funny part about this is I wanna give YouTube and definitely Netflix a lot of credit here. Let’s face it. YouTube’s had this on lock down for… seven years? There was a period there around 2009-2010 where there was a lot of debate about, well do we use YouTube or do we use Vimeo. I feel like that argument? Settled.
Vimeo is where people go when they get booted off YouTube, it seems. Nothing against Vimeo. It’s a very well done site and everything. But just the reality of the types of content you see on Vimeo seems to be the YouTube rejects.
Well, I also think a big part of it, and this may have changed now. I don’t use Vimeo and I haven’t in a long time, and I haven’t researched how they’ve addressed stuff, but I know for us when I worked for the university using YouTube was major because they supported captioning and keyboard control at the time. Vimeo didn’t. Vimeo didn’t all the way up when 2012 hit, and I switched jobs. By that point in time Vimeo still did not support captioning. I don’t know if they ever did.
YouTube’s captioning is pretty good. I like that it has autotranslate too. That’s a nice feature.
It’s as good if you understand that it’s a robot that is defining the captions, and then another robot that is translating them and you’re just like, okay, I’m gonna get an imperfect translation, but at least I’ll have a general sense for what this person is talking about. It’s great.
It’s a start. And as we mentioned in the search section, they use those captions to then make your video easier to find. And for our listeners, if you’ve been to our websites, you’ll notice we do transcripts. And to this point, we use a machine transcription to start that process. And then we edit that. I can’t say anything bad about the machine transcription because that is part of how we deliver that servic to you guys. It is incredibly valuable. And I think with YouTube as well as others, they’re the standard now they’ve set that standard and not just from the features like captioning, but just the general interface from keyboard controls to… video is simple, video straightforward. We’ve had at home video play back since the 80s when you had your VCR with the remote and things like the play button, stop button, rewind, all of this. That’s a well defined UI… or UxD rather, let’s call it that. The user experience design that goes into all of that is now something that’s well defined. That’s why we have a play button and why it looks the way it does. The play button on YouTube is a direct evolution of that play button you had on your remote in 1982.
As is the vestigial term of “rewind.”
My favorite is still the save icon. And the fact that people already don’t know what that means.
Yeah, I showed my kids an actual 3.5″ floppy disk. And I asked them, I found it while going through stuff and ask them what they thought it was. They had some very sincere, but a variety of answers.
So on next week’s episode, we get to hear these answers.
You know what something I really love about YouTube, I just discovered this past year? I like to listen while I’m at work. If I’m doing some real tedious, repetitive task, I will listen to conference talks. To sort of develop my skills, see what’s out there, what’re people talking about. I discovered you can listen to a play back sped up. One and half, one and a quarter, or two times as fast. When you’re hearing someone talk, they talk a little faster, but it’s totally intelligible and you can hear what they’re saying, and it is great and it’s a way you can get through an hour talk in two-thirds of the time. It’s awesome.
We haven’t talked about it in today’s episode, but if you’ve used an LMS, a learning mangement system, that has a video component, a lot of those have that same functionality. And I’ve done that where I’ve been going through a training program or something like that, that has a video component, and I use that sped up video to help me get through it because I’m not gonna lie some of those videos, those guys are not teachers, they are not trained speakers, and I’m gonna fall asleep if I have to sit there for two hours listening to your video. But I can pull it off in an hour, double time, rock and roll. Where YouTube’s been setting the standard, Netflix has too, but in a totally different and interesting way. Netflix, to me, and YouTube has too, but I wanna recognize Netflix as somebody who’s been striving towards this for a while is that their cross platform deployment is just a work of art. The fact that you can use Netflix on a Wii, a PS4, a Chromecast, a Fire TV, a website, and your experience across the board is close enough that you will never get confused on it.
It’s kind of magical. It’s like having a refrigerator in your house, you just expect it to be there and you expect a magical box. You put things in things suddenly get cold. You have a Netflix app on your phone, you tap it, and now you can watch movies, and we don’t really think much about all the stuff that goes into that, but it’s kind of a fucking miracle.
Can you imagine how much work has to go into making Netflix work on a Wii? I come on, that is not a straightforward port. There’s no way. Yeah, they have figured out the magic sauce on that. And here’s where it gets really great is if you’re on something that’s older, I wish I could remember what it was I was using the other day, whatever it was I was using, the Netflix app that was available was like four versions old. It was old. Bit it still worked. It was missing, like, it didn’t have profile support. They hadn’t implemented the profiles yet where you could set different users. It did work for viewing, though. You could log in, you were just logged in as the primary profile then, and you could watch video and watching the video worked. It streamed, it didn’t skip, it didn’t do anything. That’s amazing. Compared to the service that we’ve come to expect from some people, anyway, in this wide world. So I think Netflix, I would like to see them do a lot more in the space of working with companies completely unrelated to video in how you make your service available cross platform and keep it usable even as times change and move on, and technology changes. Now, DirecTV, of course, the one glaring…
Oh, come on! Give him this, they get this one right? They get a win tonight?
No, I give them nothing. And I take from them, everything.
I feel bad for them failing so hard.
Listen..I’m just gonna be straight here. I have beat them up on twitter over this. I have written an article about this. I have tried everything I can… I do not know why in 2017, I do not have fucking keyboard controls for their stupid video player. I don’t know how they are getting away with it without a lAWSuit, frankly.
When you say keyboard controls, do you mean things like pressing spacebar to pause and play, or do you mean advanced keyword control?
You can’t even do that?
And this is true on their current player. It’s true on their beta player. I can not control their player AT ALL. I don’t know what it’s written in. I don’t know what the deployment and set up like, but there is no keyboard control over it, and it drives me insane. And this is one of those arguments where we get into “Accessibility IS Usability”. I don’t have a functional disability, but I could. And as somebody who doesn’t, I am still frustrated that you are not making your product usable for me in a way that I’ve come to expect with the trend setters who are Netflix, who are YouTube, who all have solved this problem and you haven’t.
Yeah. I fully expect any video player, if it’s on a computer desktop, I expect to be able to press the space bar to play or pause it. If it can’t even do that, that is the lowest of low bars.
I can forgive a lot of other stuff. Give me my space bar. Come on!
How do you deal with that, man?
Give me my damn space bar. I’m not asking for that much here, I thought for sure they were gonna have this fixed by now and they don’t, and I’m shocked. I am amazed.
I think this is a good place to mention Jacob’s Law of the Internet User Experience, that’s Jacob Nielsen from the Nielsen-Norman Group. He’s a very well renowned voice on usability issues. (I’m really understating that who he is) Users spend most of time on other sites. So if you make choices about your UX, you should pretty much adhere to the way other sites are doing it, as much as you can, because that allows for faster onboarding and faster learning of your UX… of your UI.
And fewer lAWSuits. DirecTV, to me, is a walking accessibility lAWSuit. And, let’s be fair: Netflix hadn’t solved this problem until 2014, and they had to be sued over it too. And so the only reason we have captions across the board at Netflix is because of this approach. It’s insane to think that in 2014, a lAWSuit had to be filed to solve that problem though when it’s a solved problem.
I don’t have any… I can hear, just fine and everything, but I like having captions turned on, even if it’s a fully english movie and everything. I just like having the words at the bottom, the screen ’cause sometimes the volume changes or it’s just hard to hear what people have to say. And honestly, when my kids were little, I had to have the captions on because they were either noisy or sleeping. So in either case, you gotta have captions.
There are a thousand reasons why you would want to have captions, and not all of them are accessibility, and it comes back to what I said: “accessibility is usability.” Making a good accessible product is making a better product for everybody who uses it across the board. Direct TV is gonna be in a world to hurt if they do not figure this stuff out. If they wanna be in this game. Also, DirecTV has this problem, Sling had this problem; my god sling had it. I was a sling customer for a while. I switched to DirectTV, but their interfaces don’t understand when you are on a computer versus when you are on a TV. What I mean by that is, again, I’m gonna point people to the article I wrote on my blog about this because there is a screenshot. If I am on… I have 2k monitors here. I am not fancy enough for 4k, but I’m a foot from my monitors. It’s fine. What I see on this versus what I see on my home theater PC and my living room on a 65″ TV, that’s 1080, that drastically impacts what I’m able to see. I cannot read your interface from my chair at that size and resolution.
It’s 2k resolution or… it’s not HD?
Well, on my monitor, half 4k, so it’s what? It’s 2560×1440? My TV is 1920×1080. The difference being, while on my 2k monitor, that’s much more dense. If I’m looking at a listings page, for instance, search results or whatever. I’m a foot from my screen so I can see a lot of information, I can take it all and I can read it all, but my home theater PC is 1080. It’s huge, but because of the interface thinking that it’s a monitor, that’s a 1080 monitor…
It has tiny text.
It’s super small, it’s impossible to read it. You have to physically get up and walk to the TV to read it, or you have to turn the zoom all the way up. These interfaces don’t have any accounting for that idea. They think, oh, you’re just watching it on a computer. And I know that’s a nitpicky…
It makes it unusable if you can’t read it or if it’s — tiny text on a billboard, why would you do that? Same thing with user interface for television.
Yeah, that’s a very similar ideas. If you’ve got, for instance, a tiny text on a billboard versus a sign you printed off and stuck on the door to your store. So somebody is reading a sign a foot from their face, or a billboard a hundred feet away. It’s a very similar challenge in that case. Yeah, it’s a good analogy in terms of how that affects the readability and usability of an interface. And it’s something that I know that, man, 3% of their user base probably has to deal with that. But as the user, it’s the most important thing in the world to me when it’s a problem that gets in the way of my using your service and the difference between me paying you my $35 a month or not.
I mean. I’m not a subscriber, as I said before, and I don’t know that I would need to subscribe to them. But with those three problems alone, I’m definitely not using it.
To a lesser extent. Netflix does suffer from this problem, but their interface is lightweight enough, so to speak that you don’t notice it really; but it’s not immune. It just shows the effects less. I want — in YouTube, YouTubes, all of them. They all suffer from this. YouTube has this problem where: I want the android TV YouTube app. I wanna able to use that from a PC.
I don’t think I’ve used that before. What’s Android TV?
I’ve had a couple of android TV devices. They’re cool, but they aren’t very well supported, unfortunately. It makes YouTube really nice to use because it’s designed to be used from a TV. The interface is designed for a TV and their website absolutely is not. And there’s not a way to tell it, “Hey, I’m viewing this on a TV. Can you give me an alternate presentation?” There’s no context aware presentation for that stuff. And I think that’s where all of these folks need to take lesson. Amazon is 112% in that mix — these folks need to realize you’re offering streaming video, think about the context of people using this on a TV or a monitor and give them the ability to make that experience fit the environment.
So here we go, here is my prediction, I’m gonna make it now because I want this on record. This is next-gen responsive design. This is a Responsive Design 2.0 and I’m gonna make everybody hate me for coining that term. That is the next level of responsive is environment context-aware presentation.
“Context-aware presentation”. Okay. Alright!
Context-aware presentation. CAP.
It’s even got an acronym!
Is your website CAP-compatible?
I joke, but I do think that that is… that next step is — Okay, we know how big the screen is you’re looking at, but screen size — and keep in mind, when you do responsive design as I know you’re well aware, it’s entirely based on pixel count.
I’ve gotten bitten on that a number of times where the new iPhone — what are we at 9, now? iPhone 9? — The screen resolution is the retina display is impressively dense. It’s really amazing. The problem is, is that it’s so good that it doesn’t trigger the right responsive modes with media queries, in the CSS. And so we end up getting… we had to add additional stuff that checks the user-agent and other things to make sure that we communicate the right version of the site.
And I don’t know if the answer is to that… let me be very clear like —
First world problems.
How do you tell… how do you tell a system that you’re using a TV? My 1080 screen is a 60″ television, not a 23″ monitor — That makes a difference. And there’s a standard there that I think is gonna have to be met at some point.
It’s over HTTP, right? User-agent. Send an honest user-agent string and maybe some extra metadata that goes with it and actually use that. I mean, everybody has to use it correctly for it to work right. But the things there, just people aren’t using it right.
We’ll see what happens. I think that’s something a lot more years and a lot more people smarter then me to figure out. I think the lessons, the takeaways here for what we’ve been talking about: First of all, YouTube, let’s talk Youtube. I think YouTube’s lesson is “With great power comes great responsibility.” They’ve been in this market for thirteen years. They are the standard. They are the ones who basically tell everybody else how to play the game. They have knowledge, they have experience and they have data that nobody else has access to. That needs to show when it comes to YouTube Red, when it comes to YouTube TV, that information and that experience I think has to show through in those venues. And if it fails, it’s their fault.
If it fails, they didn’t try hard enough.
They got the resources.
They’ve got everything they need, I think, to make that work. And the theory, I think the theory on paper is great. They’ve got to figure out how they crack that nut. And I think it’s honestly, I think it’s a price thing. They need Youtube Red to be cheaper. They need YoutubeTV to either be cheaper or offer better services… Something! But they have the power. And I think what they do will set that trend. Netflix. Netflix has a few things actually. Netflix — I will be shocked if Netflix remains an independent company.
If Youtube, or Google — or I should say Alphabet — if Alphabet or Amazon doesn’t buy Netflix in the next five years, I would be shocked.
I would be kind of shocked if Netflix allowed themselves to be bought. It would have to be a hostile takeover. They are generating their own content — I could see maybe their distribution platform being snatched up and then spinning off to just making content. But I think the fact that they are their own distribution platform and they can make their own content, that’s good vertical integration there, isn’t it?
It’s tough and I know that what I’m suggesting is kind of aggressive, but at the same time, they are a single market — They have a single market vector: video. Their service is video content. Google is data. Amazon is products, and Amazon is going after everybody. We saw this with the Whole Foods acquisition.
They’re not afraid to spend money and let’s face it. AWS is a success because of Netflix.
If Netflix hadn’t built out their system on AWS I don’t think AWS would have made it, frankly. $6 billion a year, give or take, that Netflix spends on infrastructure, a lot of that goes to Amazon. And so that’s why I say that is I just have trouble seeing — in this world where everybody gets acquired. Everybody gets bought by somebody, everybody’s owned by somebody. This idea that Netflix remains this weird rogue single player. I just don’t think it lasts, and I think somebody is gonna shell out $40 Billion, $100 Billion to get them.
That would be sad! So I just… I would be worried that the quality of Netflix as a product would decline if someone else took them over. That would be really sad.
Yeah, I don’t know! And I think it happens because of what we were saying earlier with interfaces and that idea that Netflix is so good at putting their stuff on everything, but at the same time, that means they’re on everything. You’re telling me Roku isn’t interested in walling that garden in? Amazon isn’t interested in saying, you know what, “screw you, Youtube. We don’t have to play your ad.” Google’s already doing this — Google’s already told Netflix — or not Netflix, sorry — Amazon. They’ve already pulled Youtube off the Fire Stick.
Wow. Okay. So are people going to want a product that can’t play Netflix though? That’s the question. And I think as Netflix consolidates — er…as Netflix fortifies their position with all the original content… there was a Quartz.com article that came out recently that said how people use Netflix versus Amazon Prime versus Hulu, and 37% of viewers on Netflix watch “Original Series”; 34% watch “Other Series”, only 29% watch “other movies”. But on Amazon Prime, 39% watch “Movies”. And then the original, and other series, are 27% and 24% [respectively]. Hulu is “Other Series” at 54% with other ones with the original movie series and movies that around 20%. So the Netflix original series are a huge success.
…and Amazon’s aren’t. “Man in the High Castle”?
There’s a demand for the content, not just the product, but the content that Netflix is producing.
At the end of the day, what I see happening is, this is what we’re talking about. Let’s just be real. There is there’s a war between Amazon and Google.
It’s a very strange war when you really look at the kinds of companies they are, but they see the ground between them and they’re both going after that ground. That’s between them as companies and Netflix is ground zero for where the war is taking place and what they’re both going for. Because they both have a stake in that market. They both see it as a tool that’s on both their platforms. It’s successful. And I think Netflix can’t withstand that market pressure.
My prediction, since we’re making predictions here, my prediction, if Netflix gets acquired, it’s going to be by someone in the telecom sector and not Amazon or Google. I think that Netflix is — because Netflix is such a huge bandwidth suck for the telecom companies that I could see them trying to consolidate that in — into their thing into their business.
You wanna know what would be…nuts…just absolutely off the wall bonkers? If Hulu acquired them.
Ha! That wouldn’t make Netflix be– That wouldn’t make Hulu better, that would make Netflix worse.
It’s probably more likely that Netflix would acquire Hulu, but, eh, I’m just spitballin’ here.
Just really quick on the topic of Hulu — I thought they were great, I mean the the ads are whatever, but then they did Hulu plus where you could get ad-free and then the subscribers that got suckered in to doing that, got ads eventually anyways. Yea, it’s bullshit. Don’t do that.
I think in the world of Netflix and, on a totally different subject, the thing I wanna give them credit for, though. Given the importance they play in web development and in the technology world is the development of what is known as the Chaos Monkey.
Yeah, we mentioned earlier that Netflix is built largely an AWS and the Chaos Monkey was effectively a tool as they got so huge. They needed a way to test, at scale, failures of servers and failures of distribution nodes and failures of cataloging systems, and any matter in form of their delivery layer. And so the Chaos Monkey is a system that is designed to operate in their production environment, and it goes around and just shuts a server down.
It sounds so asinine when you read about it — why would you intentionally hurt your production environment? But when you need such consistent up time like that, if your operation isn’t redundant enough to handle that kind of interruption, then you got bigger problems.
And it’s incredibly useful for AWS, but anybody who’s doing broad scale, certainly web hosting folks like digital ocean and rack space. And these folks who do VPS type work and everything. Anybody who’s got large scale server infrastructure can benefit from that. Even if you have, let’s say a system has a four node web host or something, this can go in there and take a database down, take an Apache server down, and just make sure that your load balancer picks it up right and said you the alert right, and — use as a fire drill, that idea. I’m sure other folks that probably played with something like that before, but Netflix was one who really made it like a thing. The idea that the Chaos Monkey, and that’s literally what it’s called —
Yeah! it is!
It’s that’s a service that they have created, that you can take that idea and deploy on your own. So definitely something I think that they need credit for… because it made people think about how you provide up time on large scale deployments. DirecTV Now? Listen guys: we have weird feelings for each other. I like you. I’m gonna continue paying for your service, I think you have a “Most Improved Player” award waiting for you at home plate, but you need to hit the ball first before you can get there.
No participation trophy here.
No participation trophy. They have a service that is waiting to be great, but they have a long way to go, and I hope they get there because I do like the value they provide with what they have, when it works and when it works right. And I know at the end of the day, the listeners here, you guys aren’t folks that work for Netflix. You don’t work for Youtube, you don’t work for Amazon or Twitch or Vimeo, or take your pick on these folks. But all of these companies are organizations that send the design and the user experience cues to the rest of the industry when it comes to providing streaming video. And so while the meat’n’potatoes of today’s episode maybe didn’t hit you right in the gut, it’s important to think about what these people are doing, because it does affect, even at a very low level, the design choices we make, the interaction choices we make, and how that affects users and what they do as Aaron mentioned: Jacob’s Law plays into this heavily, that users spend most of their time on other sites, not yours.
Yeah, like we mentioned with the spacebar thing, we are also so accustomed to that, that if you have video player that doesn’t have a space bar for pausing, reconsider which video player you’re using.
And reconsider how you feel about life.
Indeed. Thanks for visiting to the DrunkenUX podcast has this week. We’d love to hear from you. Leave comments, contact us on social and check us out. We’ll be back in a couple weeks with something else new. We did mention the higher ed thing last week — that’s coming up, we’re going to make it a super-special episode. You’ll hear [about] it soon.
If you wanna follow along, join us at facebook or twitter at sloshed…. I mean slashed… I mean slash — drunkenUX, that’s D-R-U-N-K-E-N-U-X. We post all our updates there. We keep up to date when shows are coming out. We ask for feedback in information on topics that are coming up as Aaron mentioned, we’re gonna be doing the higher it episode very shortly. We’re gonna be including a lot of stuff in there, I think, right? We’re gonna do a two part episode. I think is what we decided. And so that’s gonna be a big show. So stay tuned for that and be sure to keep listening, keep drinking, and keep designing.
This episode of The Drunken UX Podcast brought to you by Gas Mark 8.