UX Case Study on “The Paradox of Choice” on OTT platforms

shreya shubhangi
13 min readAug 5, 2021

Just imagine on a cool ‘Netflix and chill’ day you opened the app and then you started to search what to watch then you scrolled, and scrolled and scrolled 👀 got frustrated 😖and switched to some other app.

Happened ? Then you have suffered from “Paradox of Choice” my friend. When we are given too many options, it becomes tough for our brain to choose from it, also might end up choosing nothing at all. In this UX Case study I tried solving the same.

Roles & Constraints :
Timeline :13 July,2021 to 4th August,2021(3 weeks)
Role: UX researcher, UX designer, Problem Solver
Scope : UX Design
Software Used: Figma

👉Business Problem statement:
With the Pandemic and the Lockdown, there has been an increase in audience watching shows and movies on OTT platforms.
People tend to get very confused with the large number of options available. An OTT app wants to make it easier for people to decide what to watch.

👉Research Problem Statement:
Making the decision of what to watch on an OTT platform has become very confusing for the audience. As a UX designer you first want to understand the behavior of people trying to choose what they want to watch and the different factors that influence the decision. Plan a research to identify the behavioral patterns to help the business cater to users in an efficient way.

I tried portraying my problem statement through story boarding

After getting my problem statement I was attacked by so many questions in my head and my curiosity level started rising.

👉 5 Ws — WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE & WHY

  1. Who ?
    🔸Who will be my target audience?
    🔸Who is the most affected age group people?

2. What?
🔸What is the root cause of such a confusion about which movie to choose?
🔸What are the frustrations people face while scrolling OTT platforms?
🔸What is the first thing they look for the moment they open the app?

3. When?

🔸When do people watch movies on these OTT platforms mostly?

4. How?
🔸How is the behavior of the people when they open the OTT platform ?What is their mindset?
🔸How much time on an average a person spends while watching something on this OTT?

5. Where?
🔸Where the confusion exactly starts to happen while the users start choosing the movie which they want to watch?
🔸What are factors which influence their decisions?

Why?
🔸Why people, spend so much time on searching which movie to watch on an OTT platform?

So, when I first started with the set of questions some questions were pretty obvious while the others were still a mystery. A mystery of the unknown.🙄

Design Process:

I used DOUBLE DIAMOND Process to solve this problem area.

Firstly It is important to UNDERSTAND the context in which users are facing these problems. It is beneficial to understand the core of the user problem and also to not get diverted from our path in solving the problem.

DEFINING the data would help in reframing the problem statement and choosing the user group and problem for which we are going to provide a solution for.

IDEATING different solutions on the basis of the re-briefed problem statement helped to come up with unique as well as user focused ideas.

PROTOTYPING helped in depicting my ideas to the users and hear their views about it.

TESTING with rea users helped in making the application more user friendly.

Research (YOU ≠ USER) the way you look at the problem does not necessarily mean that the other person will be having the same lookout.

Stage -1 Understanding the Problem

Secondary Research :

In my desk research I went through all the articles available on the internet I got to know a very cool thing Netflix has it’s own research website https://research.netflix.com/. How Cool!!🤯

As per few other articles online more than 50% of the people prefer watching movies in regional languages.

48% said there are the right amount of entertainment options available to watch on streaming services, while 40% said there are too many.
65% of streaming subscribers said they were likely to use a top 10 list, while 82% said the same of content groupings.

67% streaming subscribers surveyed said they have a hard time deciding what to watch on streaming services.
36% of streaming subscribers — including 56% of respondents who subscribe to five or more services — said they were likely to use a shuffle feature that randomly selected a film or TV show for them to watch.

Nielsen found that on average, a notable 9.4 minutes was reported for adults 18–34 and 8.4 minutes for adults 35–49 who stream.

Yet, consumers are frustrated with the content discovery process. Nearly two-thirds (62%) of consumers agree that they often struggle to find something to watch, despite there being many choices available to them.
the findings show that half of consumers (50%) are frustrated when they search for content to watch compared to finding content to read (37%) or music to listen (32%).

Decisions are harder with more options, and mistakes are more likely. We take longer to make the decision. So not only are we angry with ourselves (or Netflix) for picking the wrong option, but we also beat ourselves up more for the 30 minutes we took to pick the wrong show for date night.

Defining the Target Audience :

Targeted users

Primary Research :
My secondary research was now the base raw material upon which I am going to establish my building blocks. It will help me to fill up the blanks which was left in the secondary research.

So, I took the interview of 4 people between the age group of 18–30 and other from 2 from the age group of 30–65. Before starting the interview I made a “pre-requisite” mindset list of all the do’s and don'ts I am going to follow through out the conversation.

In order to select the right set of audience I took a survey and put it into various social media groups. This helped screening the person I should interview.

Interview Question :
0. Can you tell me something about yourself? Which OTT platforms you use most frequently?
1. What is the first thing you notice when you sign in to your OTT platform ?
2. Can you take me through the scenario when you want to watch a movie on your OTT platform?
3. How frequent do you use the segregated sections like Thriller movies , Hindi drama and so on? Does that help?
4. Do you think OTT platforms are important for your day to day life?
5. Do you always find something to watch ?
6. Which all OTT platforms you use in a regular basis?
7. If you can’t find the content what do you do?
8. What time of the day you consume streaming content?

Throughout the interview I let my users talk as much as possible tell me about their pain points, and I noticed what they “Did” , “Said”, “Thinks”, “Feels” and documented them in my define stage.

Define Stage :

After the interviews I got two User Personas (Well, let me tell you one thing here which I learned “an individual user interview is different from a user persona”.

A persona, is a fictional character created to represent a “user set” that might use product in a similar way.

So, from my interviews I discovered two kinds of personas :

Phone-a-friend 📞: This kind of a person always calls a friend for suggestions when they open their OTT platforms.

Dora the explorer👓 :

These kind of people discover new kind of movies of different region, languages, distinct plots and what not.

So, based upon this I created “Phone a friend” persona.

After getting all the frustrations, pain point of my persona I decided to solve the problem with the very basic question “How might we”?

HOW MIGHT WE Questions

The best way to solve the problem if look at the problem from all the perspective, how might we questions gave me a broader perspective.

Do not want to scroll a large number of options available on the OTT platform .

1. How might we reduce the number of options available for the people on OTT platforms?

How might we let our users to stay on the OTT platforms and prevent them from “Paradox of choice”?

2.How might we connect people before watching their shows on OTT?

People often want to consult their friends/known people before watching movie so that preserve the time to scroll throughout the content

3.How might we make it easy for people to share the content which their friend’s must watch?

4. How might we make sharing the movie / show’s link simple?

Right amount of content at a time

5. How might we present the content in such a way only relevant options are visible to the users?

6. How might we make the whole content more engaging?

STAGE 3 — IDEATE

The how might we questions answered ! I just started brainstorming my ideas and put that all at once.

In order to reduce the options we can ask people to select their genre and make a playlist kind of a thing and then whenever they land on the OTT platform they get to see their content in priority.

Instagram is the most engaging platform. It can keep you entangled the whole day. So the reels section of Instagram can play a vital role .

We can also play the trailer as soon as the person opens the app just the way it happens on tv so that at least they will be engaged on the platform for sometime.

We can create channels which can combine all the genre of one type and stream as tv channels

We can create make an easy filter option to select the genre and their release year to reduce the number of options.

A feature to show how many of your friends liked the movie or have watched.

Sharing feature to let your friends know if this movie is worth watching or not.

So, I chose Netflix app as my base app for this project. While navigating around I noticed the “My List” section is the most unused section of the whole app.

So to reduce the complexity in choices I implemented Hick’s Law to overcome it.

What if, in the “My List” Section despite of selecting individual movies/series we made the user select the genre of their choice ! Let them make their own personalized playlist on Netflix and whenever they land on this page one of the movie will automatically start streaming just the way it happens in TV or Instagram reels!

Also, their will be like , share and ‘more’ options on this screen making it similar to the most engaging app people around the globe are using ! How cool will that be !! No more “watermelon sugar high” on loop lol :P

Low Fidelity Wireframes :

High Fidelity Wireframes

SCREEN 1

Feature Added :

This is the first part which will be visible when user opens the My list section. In this section one of the movie from his “My List genre playlist ” will start streaming automatically( just a movie clip).

Like Section :

Now once the person has selected his genre out or liked it through like button it will be reflected in below the movie that this friend of yours has liked the movie.

Sharing Feature: Now you can share the movie link easily on any social media platform across.

Similar Movie below the reels :now just like movie channels, similar movies posters can be shown below.

More Section : Options like save for later, watch later , play now is there.

Problem being solved

While interviewing my users I got to know that sometimes my users come to these OTT platforms for a while and want to have a “quick watch” automatic streaming will act just like a TV channel and hence solves this what to watch for 10 min issue. Also, when we are confused of what to watch automatic streaming is a great help as it keeps your audience engage for a long time.

How I came up with this idea?

Story Behind : While scrolling Instagram one day I thought of spending the next 5 more minutes and then I’ll go and study 😆 but I ended up scrolling for the next half and hour *Face Palm* 😑. But then I thought what if Netflix has the same feature how engaging the whole platform will be ! I then went and watched the whole reels section and made this screen similar to that.

Screen 2:

Feature Added :

My List section redesigned, now despite of having individual movies now users can add the movie genre of their choice and that will be reflected here . So suppose I like TV Dramas, Indian Movies and family drama so I’ll add only those genre.

Problem being solved :

Now when people will have their own playlist the number of options are reduced to an extent and now they only need to scroll around few genres.

How I came up with this idea ?

As a part of solution to Hick’s law which I stated earlier if you reduce the number of option your users will be obviously less confused.

After developing all the ideas I went to my users and asked them now what do you think about this idea?

Testing :

👩User 1 : Shrinidhi Bhat, 23 :

Liked : She really liked the idea of having the name of the friends shown who liked the movie and was pretty impressed by the TV/Reels feature which will show movie clips.

Was Confused : She raised the concern about the more options as to what options will be there also, she said that the below portion can be made a bit darker so that it doesn’t hamper the movie clip we are watching.

👦User 2: Adithya Prasanna Murthy, 24 :

Liked : He really liked the idea of creating the genre in the my list section

Was Confused : but he was a bit confused about the play option , what if I want to watch the whole movie now ? where should I click ?

He also raised the concern of how am I going to select the genre in the first screen ? what if I want to remove the genre from the My list .

👧User 3: Divyashree Reddy, 19 :

Liked : She was again impressed by the idea that whichever movie she will like it will be reflected below the movie.

Doubt : But how Netflix will come to know who is your friend? Also, can we make the below poster a bit less distracting ?

👩‍🦱User 4: Anupama Sinha , 55 :

Liked : She really liked the idea of genre that now she can craete her own playlist similar to spotify app .

Raised concern : Why the play button is in the more option ? It is difficult to imagine the play button in more option.

Challenges

Taking the base app such as Netflix was a problem statement in itself the whole app is designed amazingly so I had to struggle a lot to make it more engaging.

Final UI :

0p

New Features Added :

Reels Icon : An easy CTA for the reels so that Now my user doesn’t have to go to my list section and then other screen they can directly access it from below navigation option.

Plus icon for adding movie genre: Now an easy option to add the movie genre once selected double tap can remove the selection.

Swipe Up Section : Now as Divyashree mentioned that the below similar similar movie section can interrupt the view a bit so I made that optional a simple swipe up. Also, when this is swiped up it will show a clear movie poster as the user has swiped up to view the options clearly.

Play button : So adding the play now option will allow my users to watch the whole movie if the want. The button has been added keeping in mind the Fitt’s Law which states that “the time to acquire a target is a function of the distance to and size of the target”. in simple words it should be easy for your fingers to navigate and access the buttons .

What my users say now ?

Most of the users have highlighted the point that now it will be so easier to stay on the netflix app for a longer duration with a personalized space !

The add icon , the play now option has also impressed my users to a great extent ! Happy users :)

Future Goals :

If given an opportunity I really want to show this to Netflix people some day😝 and ask for their feedback on my idea.

Key Learnings :

👉 The major role of a UX designer is to get into the shoes of the user try to understand their issues without interrupting because your users are never going to let you know their pain points in easy statements you have to dig deeper !

👉 Desk research is very very important in UX research it gives you a good grip of the overall issue. Also research as much as possible but don’t spend too much time on it.

👉 Individual User interviews are totally different from User personas.

Thanks for watching✨

You can share your feedbacks Or contact me at : shreya.shubhangi363@gmail.com

--

--