Design Critique: Amazon Prime Video (iOS App)

Amazon Prime Video, a versatile streaming platform providing a wide array of content in multiple languages, including movies, TV shows, documentaries, and original series, offers a rich digital experience. Nonetheless, during personal use and group viewings, some usability challenges have been noticed. Drawing from usability principles highlighted in Don Norman’s “The Design of Everyday Things,” potential solutions can be explored to address these issues. Three primary concerns are outlined below, along with suggested solutions.

  1. Find Information on content on the Home Page

The ‘Continue Watching’ section lacks visibility on current status of episode details and watched minutes, contributing to slips and errors in resuming play accurately. This leads to a bad user experience. Providing clear feedback and signifiers here aligns with Norman’s emphasis on feedback and constraints to prevent accidental actions. (Refer to Image below)

1.1 Adding actionable signifiers to Home Page
1.2 Repositioning ‘Prime’ brand name for better visual hierarchy for Discoverability
(Click to enlarge Image)

2. Filter and Search:

The content structure, particularly for TV shows, leads to confusion as search results display multiple seasons for a single show in the same search result. (Image below). Norman’s Gulf of Execution concept is evident here, as users may find it challenging to understand and execute the search process effectively.

Simplifying this process aligns with Norman’s principle of mapping, making the relationship between user intentions and actions more intuitive. Presenting a single result for TV shows when the name is searched in the Search Bar, and enabling users to change Season settings, and explore individual episodes within the product detail page can reduce the Gulf of Execution and simplify Mapping. This also aligns with Knowledge of the World concept.

2.1. Analyzing Gulf of Execution in Search options for TV Shows (Click to enlarge)

While searching for a specific Genre, there is a separate Filter pop-up. However it is blank when opened. Users need to open the drop-down menu to make them visible, and in most cases, it just has only one filter option, and this adds an unnecessary step in the execution process. (Refer to images below for Task flow)

Possible filter options can directly be added on the Main screen, letting users filter with one direct click, and make all filter options visible on the main page. This leverages constraints, by providing quick signifiers directly on the detail page, thus reducing the cognitive load and improving user understanding.

2.2. Analyzing the Gulf of Execution in Filter option in each Genre page (Click to enlarge)

Decision fatigue arises due to the absence of a filter option for the numerous Categories on the home screen, compelling users to search for items by scrolling.

Since the app is well-known for a lot of regional content, the Filter option can increase Discoverability of movies filtered by languages, regions, etc. without having to scroll excessively. Leveraging the app’s recognition for regional content aligns with Norman’s idea of designing with “Knowledge in the World.” Implementing a visible filter option on the home screen, acting as an external memory aid, can significantly enhance user experience.

Inconsistencies in category names between different sections, such as ‘Find’ page that has fixed Genres, and ‘Categories’ on the Home Page, create potential memory challenges for users, making it difficult to recall and locate specific genres. This can be considered in relation to Short-term memory (STM) caused errors. Notice how the Genre names, and the Home Screen Category name differ drastically in the image below.

This issue can be addressed by applying Norman’s principle of consistency in design, ensuring that the category names are uniform across different sections (on the Home Page and the Find page). This consistency serves as a knowledge aid, reducing cognitive load and potential errors.

3.2 Analysing Short-term Memory (STM) related errors in visual association of Category names (Click to enlarge)

In conclusion, the usability challenges identified in the Amazon Prime Video app, marked by poor mappings and weak signifiers, contribute to significant Gulfs of Execution. By enhancing signifiers, improving mappings, and fostering consistency, the app can bridge the gaps, reducing the cognitive load on users and ultimately providing a more seamless and user-friendly streaming experience.