Netflix looks to kids to make its UI more fun

Written on:July 28, 2011
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Don’t be surprised if the Netflix website looks a little more like your five-year-old’s favorite toy soon. Netflix is actively looking for a Senior User Experience Designer for Kids & Family, according to a job opening posted on its site. Potential candidates are supposed to be able to “envision kids’ interfaces that are friendlier, simpler (and) more fun” as well as be “passionate about creating fun, easy-to-understand interfaces that communicate with kids on their level.”

Does that mean Netflix will launch a separate website just for kids? Probably not. Netflix has in the past experimented with delivering different UIs to different devices, but never specifically targeted any slice of its audience with a separate site. However, it’s entirely possible that Netflix wants to internally experiment with kids-specific designs to eventually incorporate some of those elements into its main site.

Netflix has added a lot of content specifically targeted towards the needs of kids and their parents in recent months, with full seasons of shows like Sesame Street, Yo Gabba Gabba, SpongeBob SquarePants and iCarly being added to the company’s streaming library. Netflix has also been toying with the idea of separating its queues and recommendations by introducing multiple user profiles for each account, which would help parents keep their Netflix front page free of too many suggestions for Strawberry Shortcake. However, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said during a recent earnings call that this change “is not going to happen in the short term.”

Netflix is famous for its data-centric approach towards design changes, with each potential tweak being vigorously A/B tested before it is rolled out to a wider audience. Some of its UI decisions have nonetheless been met with resistance. The company revamped its home page in early June to offer subscribers more instant access to streaming titles, but the changes immediately provoked thousands of negative comments. Netflix eventually rolled back some of the changes a month later.

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