What is Discovery Experience?
"Discovery Experience" is referred to the engagement of consumers on streaming websites. 
Top streaming giants like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and HBO all use a very similar layout. It must mean it's the best possible design, right? Hmm...
Their content featured layouts display recommendations THEY think is best for you, with the inclusion of having an endless scrolling algorithm.
Netflix Prototype created in Figma
Netflix Prototype created in Figma
Hulu Interface
Hulu Interface
Amazon Prime Video Interface
Amazon Prime Video Interface
survey says...
According to a 2018 UX Case Study done by Digital Creative students - Faraz Ali, Andreas Iagoridcov, and Linus Stevrin, they found in their survey that most of their participants had a difficult time choosing a movie and wanted to see what their friends were watching. Their work is one of the inspirations for this case study.
I conducted my own survey and found the following notable results:
• 95% of participants have used Netflix before.
• 80% of participants have used Hulu before.
• 91.7% of participants use a streaming site daily or a few times per week.
• 70% of participants chose something to watch based on friend recommendations.
• 50% of participants only sometimes find content interesting to watch.
The issue with top streaming sites is that they are not concerned about the spacing of content, user friendliness, or personalization.
Accedo, a service that helps the world's leading content providers, wrote about how Netflix must appeal to a mass-market industry and care more about shoving content onto the user rather than being user-centric and offering personalization.
The Question to Ask
One of the primary questions to ask in design is: "How will users interact with your system?"
How will users interact with the search capabilities on these websites? 
There are usually two main ways of searching for content on a website:
• Navigational methods (home page, tabs, related, etc.)
• The search bar
Google knows all of it's users are there to search for something on their mind. They type in keywords to receive endless results based on what is written. 
Netflix knows that their users are going to use more navigational features such as searching by TV Show / Movie genres, related movies from what they’ve seen previously, suggestions, new releases, etc. Only when they’re searching for a specific movie to see “if its on Netflix” is when they may utilize the search bar. Netflix users know that they do not have every movie on the world on there, so they may browse using navigation to search more often.

The short answer is: You should make sure both systems are well-researched by your team and which features carry the most use.

Amazon puts a massive amount of power in both the search bar and the home page. The home page consists of blocks that relate to recommendations, recently viewed items, daily deals, exploring brands, seasonal/trending items, books, etc.
Their search bar also utilizes popular searches, recent searches, auto-complete, and multiple filters to search by.
A specific question to ask is: "How are keywords utilized by users?"
Users that are not adept with technology (Novice users) may not understand how search queries actually work. 
For top dogs, like Google, YouTube, and Amazon, users understand that they can use the search bar for almost anything and they are guaranteed multiple results for what they’re looking for. They can type anything and have confidence that something they’re looking for will pop up.

In my Literature Review, Power Users vs. Novice Users in New Interface Design, I reference a study by Palmquist (2001) that states that web browsing is a fundamental aspect in which users search and obtain what they want from the world of the internet, allowing them to navigate and interact with whatever they wish to find, as long as they explore and become experienced with the system.

One of the main concepts of this is that users can learn to understand how search queries work in systems, become more familiar with it, and increase their efficiency for using it.

Although, another study by Capobianco & Carbonell (2003) suggested that a major obstacle in novices being able to look for help online when troubled run into something called the “motivational paradox” in which novice users are often not motivated enough to explore a new software/interface and learn the functions needed to use it effectively. The user in this situation is more focused on trying to achieve what they want rather than to interact completely with a system, not caring to master it and take advantage of all of its’ possibilities.

Landing Page

Details Section

Usability Test
The design decisions are based on a usability test that was performed using example task scenarios for users.
1) "Continue Watching" Speed Test
• Task: You decide to continue watching a movie you left off yesterday. Once on the Home Page, continue watching the movie "Deadpool".
• This task focuses on decreasing cognitive load from the user. Netflix's home page shows a 4/5ths full-page advertisement of a featured show, forcing the user to scroll down and locate the panel that says "Continue Watching". Whereas, if this section were displayed in a clear area on load, it significantly decreases the need for the user to exert load on the working memory capacity and improves click time.
• Different UI decisions could be made for this task as long as one concept is understood: The concept of Advertisement and Discovery. Top streaming sites care about business and want to slam ads for movies/shows in front of the user. A similar model of Amazon Prime Video and Twitch.TV could be implemented, with a smaller carousel feature at the top of the screen instead of a full-width section like Netflix and Hulu.

2) Raw Search vs. Friend Recommendations
• Task: Suppose your friend group has been recommending you to watch a TV series called: "The Office", which came out in 2005. The genre is "Sitcom / Comedy". Find this TV show.
• This task focuses on using a new design feature called "Friend Recommendations". Anyone can use raw search to find a movie that someone has recommended to you, but if there is a friend-list feature, then these items can be suggested to users in advance. This effectively decreases search time for the user to find something to watch and decreases cognitive strain used in browsing & reading through titles, endlessly.
• It's important to note that a friend recommendation feature has the power to decrease the effectiveness of algorithms recommending users things to watch depending on genres generated from previously liked titles. This is why a model that utilizes both would be a great implementation here.

3) Information Search Scenario
• Task: You've been hearing about a movie called, "Wonder Woman". Find it and read the description. Then find the trailer video and watch it.
• This task focuses on measuring the efficiency of information search for users. Currently, Netflix's model has trailers listed at the very bottom of the screen on a selected title. The "More Like This" section would be more suited in this area - below the trailers or anything unrelated to the title.
• The reason why Netflix doesn't have trailers or content for their titles is because of their confidence in their AutoPlay mechanism. The AutoPlay feature is actually a hindrance for some people. It's interesting that note that people generally turn this feature off so they can search in peace. Stephen Garcia, Director of Product Innovation at Netflix said "it was a feature that was aimed towards cutting down search time" by providing more information about a user's viewing choice. While this feature benefits some users, it hurts others as well. By giving users a more in-depth description and trailers available to them with one-click, it could give users the information they need to select a title quicker without having AutoPlay on the main page.
An example of using a video preview in my redesign looks something like this:
Interface Decisions
Although most of the features in this redesign are native to Netflix, there are a few key differences explained below:
1. Right-Side Navigation Bar
Traditionally, navigation bars are at the top or left-sided a majority of the time. The justification of placing the navigation bar on the right side was to bring more focus on the content. Upon loading, users will scan the left side of the page first in an F-Pattern.
• Content visually appears first.
• The mouse cursor naturally hovers near the scrollbar to the right.
• Users are instinctively familiar from book tabs.
• Time difference between left or right navigation is negligible.
The Nielsen-Norman Group, the World Leaders in UX Research have an article on this topic stating that some users have "Right-Rail Blindness", suggesting that ad banners usually display on the right side, training users to avoid looking in that direction anyways. Utilizing this behavior as an advantage, it allows users to stay focused on the content of the page and only bother to look over when they need to use the navigation.
The main focus of this design was to improve navigation and discovery of new titles to users. This decision aids in accomplishing that goal. The navigation bar would scroll separately from the main content page. Effectively, there would be two scrolling mechanisms on the page, giving users power of analyzing content and also navigating at the same time. This is similar to the YouTube model that exists today.
To aid users in their discovery, the "DETAILS" tab is highlighted on the bottom-left corner of the screen as well as the tab notifier on the top right of the screen. This signals to users that they are able to scroll down without the navigation bar being affected. The navigation bar shows content that cuts off below the fold, also signaling to users that they are able to scroll down on this section as well.
If this isn't convincing enough: "it simply doesn't matter". Jared Spool, Founding Principal of User Interface Engineering writes that it doesn't matter what users like, as long as you choose the design that best accomplishes your objectives. He also says that users are well-equipped to discover navigation no matter where it is on a page.

2. A "Finite" Model
Top streaming services use an "endless scrolling" model in which algorithms suggest them genres and categories that go on forever.
It's highly possible that most users simply ignore most of the content due to the overwhelming amount of videos that are shown to them immediately.
Using a design that only allows for a few titles to be shown at a time, with bigger showcasings allows for the reduction of overwhelming content and more focus on the quality of it.

3. Friend Recommendations
One of the main additions to this design was the concept of implementing "friends". Adding social media aspects allows for the users to feel like the interface is more personalized to them rather than a bunch of algorithmic advertisements.
Currently, none of the top streaming sites care for a feature like this. One reason may relate to them focusing more on trusting the algorithm to recommend new and sponsored content. But as seen from previous survey results, users only sometimes find what they're looking for and a majority of them would appreciate friend recommendations.
It can be seen as a limitation to have only recommendations from friends, this is why using a system that utilizes both an algorithm and partially social suggestions would be effective.
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