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How Netflix Solves Content Overload with the Entertainment Industry’s Best User Interface Design

How does a company that offers more than a billion hours of programming make it less intimidating to find something to watch? This is a problem Netflix has been working on for well over a decade. In a rare behind-the-scenes interview, Fast Company shared a Q&A with Netflix VP of design Steve Johnson about how exactly Netflix makes it easier for people discover new shows without getting frustrated and giving up.

The interview ranges from discussing the thinking behind Netflix’s popular Top 10 lists, how the platform deals with password sharing accounts that mask who’s actually watching, whether the platform may add some sort of “channel surfing” feature, and the instant joy of starting to watch something mid-way through instead of from the beginning.

Rather than making moves to scale back programming, like with Disney’s recent choice to limit their Marvel superhero universe to only two shows and three films in the coming year, Netflix is making the strategic choice to supercharge their interface instead. It’s a smart bet. After all, content overload shouldn’t really be a problem if you can always quickly find something you actually want to watch.

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