Netflix is testing a new user interface where viewers are presented with five “Now Playing” tiles as soon as the app loads. The new tiles have been integrated with “auto play”. The five tiles merges “continue watching” with suggestions for new content.
"Now Playing" and "Auto Play"
Netflix usually rolls out new user interfaces or features to select users to examine if its users like them or not before rolling it out globally. To assess how well the changes work, Netflix checks to see if it increases time spent in its app.
Zatz Not Funny has randomly been selected as one of the testers and has been exposed to a new Netflix user interface on a Roku player. Dave Zatz describes it as five large “Now Playing” vertical tiles “comprised of both in-progress television series and two Netflix Originals I’ve never touched”. These tiles appear as soon as you open the Netflix app. If you press arrow down you jump to the usual rows of content.
If you select one of the tiles video will automatically start playing in the background as the overlay text starts to fade out. Netflix is already using “auto play” on several Smart TVs and this is an extension of that.
There is no guarantee that Netflix ends up rolling out the new user interface to all of its more than 80 million members but it demonstrates some of the ideas that the company is currently working on. Netflix previously A/B tested “auto play” and “My List” before rolling it out to its global user base.
In a recent blog post Netflix explained how it experiments with cover art for movies and TV series. The covers with the best click rates stay but it also goes on to show how serious Netflix is about A/B testing.