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 had a feeling that this could be a controversial feature for content creators, but we also thought that it could be a game changing feature for those members who love bingeing Netflix.
On the surface, this might seem like a fairly straight forward concept, but that would be deceiving. How should this element show up on the screen and what should it look like? What label/icon would help people instantly understand what action was going to be taken? Would our members 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 the answers to these questions, we set up several one-on-one customer interviews and built a prototype to allow customers to directly interact with our concepts.
We saw exceptionally high engagement with well over half of our members making use of the new feature. We also received a lot of praise on social media. By our back-of-the-napkin math, we saved our members decades of cumulative time! More importantly however, this feature increased retention and had a very positive impact on some of our streaming metrics.