In the Spring of 2016 one of our Product Managers approached me with an idea they had for allowing customers to skip the opening credit sequence of a TV show or movie. We knew this could be a controversial feature for content creators, but we also knew that it could potentially be a game changing feature for those members who love bingeing Netflix.
This might seem like a fairly straight forward concept to design, but once you dig into it, it gets a bit more complex. How should this element show up on the screen and what should it look like? What copy/label/icon would help people instantly understand what action was going to be taken? Would our customers understand what happened once the action was taken and, perhaps more importantly, would they trust that we took them to the right place in the show they were about to watch? How could we make this feature obvious, but not detract too heavily from the opening sequence if someone wanted to watch it?
To get answers to these questions and more, we set up several one-on-one customer interviews and built a prototype to allow customers to directly interact with some of our ideas, which allowed us to feel more confident when trying to answer the questions outlined above.
We saw exceptionally high engagement with well over half of our members making use of the new feature and received a lot of praise on social media. By our rough estimates, we’ve saved our members decades of cumulative time! More importantly however, this feature also increased retention and had a very positive impact on some of our streaming metrics.