Showing posts with label Requests for Feedback. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Requests for Feedback. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Another Top 10 Lists Posting

Many good suggestions - keep 'em coming. I have some questions for you.

1) Should we do any kind of filtering to restrict the presentation of these monster long lists? It does take a long time to load a list of 100 movies and I also find them of limited value. It's true -- as someone pointed out -- that they do have their place, but i tend to avoid them. We wouldn't stop their creation or anything, just perhaps we should not present them on this main Top 10 List page in that top block of personalized suggestions. They'd still be in popular and recent. But how many is the dividing line?

2) Did anyone notice that - based on your suggestions - we randomize the presentation of lists on an individual's List page? It used to only show your "Favorites" list - which is an automatically generated list of your 5-star rated movies. But if you have more lists than this, it presents something (anything) else.

3) Search-features would really be nice, i agree. I'm lobbying hard for getting lists into the search infrastructure. No timeline as of now. The more lists are useful and used, the easier this becomes.

4) Still tuning the way the various blocks "refresh". There were sufficient complaints about lists refreshing every time the page loads - it was (and continues) to make it hard when you have a few interesting results show up at a time. I have left the (original) block on the Community Home Page to refresh with each pageload, but this new page all blocks are "sticky" for your entire session. (Except the Featured Members, which is still fluid). Maybe these are too extreme. Maybe all we need is a "See more lists" button that forces a refresh. I won't be able to get to this any time soon, but i would be interested in your feedback.

5) Rating and hiding lists. Interesting. Not going to happen right now. Hiding a list is way to fringe a feature for me even to consider right now. Rating is interesting, but i think adds too much clutter. Voting on helpful is better, i suppose. But still, unlike receiving and watching a bad movie, finding a bad list is not all that painful. Protecting y'all from it might be overkill.

6) A special List "BOB" (the pop-up with special movie info) is a nice idea. I'll put it into a wish list.

Monday, November 5, 2007

This Weekend's Release and Other Things

Hey everyone. A few little fixes release this coming monday, mostly internal (non-visible stuff) like improving the ranking algorithm (btw: we probably should change the label- as it's not technically "reviewer rank" and more precisely "influencer rank" since some highly ranked folks are creating great Top 10 Lists, but not reviews...), and stuff like that. Noteworthy is this:

There are presently two ways to invite other Netflix members to be your Friend. One involves posting an HTML link that anyone can click on which will facilitate the connection. This is nice if you want to post it on your blog or MySpace page -- but the problem is that sometimes you want to be anonymous with people you still want to "Friend" -- so we're going to try something. If you invite people the "normal" way, they will be Friends the way they are today -- with their real name. But if you invite people using this HTML link, they will remain anonymous, and the connection will only feature their nickname. This way, you can exchange notes and see Queues with folks, maybe people who were mutual Faves, but they will remain nameless. I'd be interested to hear about your experiences using this link -- posted maybe to your profile statement, or your Facebook/MySpace/blogs, etc. Try it on Monday...

Has anyone used RSS to feed any Top 10 Lists or Reviews out to external sites? I'd also like to hear about that.

Been very busy with the next wave of community features, most of which won't be visible for awhile. I have appreciated your tips on improving the features we have (and they are duly noted), but hopefully the features presently available will hold your interests for the time being.

Monday, October 29, 2007

I'm enjoying Favorites...

...but the unexpected cool part for me right now is the addition of the "New Reviews From" block when a Friend or Favorite pens a new review. I've got about 14 Favorites and consequently, i've not only got a new review here every single time I come to the website (which, as you can imagine, is fairly frequent), but i click on the "close" button to get rid of one after reading it, and then refresh the page, and generally have a steady stream of new reviews from people i've selected. I far prefer reviews from my Friends, but even with a dozen (and most folks have 2) they don't write much and this is a nice personalized filler. And once in awhile there are is something pretty cool unearthed here. Are any of you discovering interesting ways of using these features that may not be apparent to the rest of us? or are there parts you find unusually compelling?

Sunday, October 21, 2007


This seems to come up periodically here, so i thought i'd just raise the level of discussion a notch: Facebook. How many of you Netflix members are also frequent users of Facebook, and for those of you who are -- what would you think would be the most important features of a Netflix-Facebook application? If it could only do one thing, what would that be? And if I had all the time and resources in the world, what would an idealized tool do? (I'll post a poll to see how many of you use MySpace, Facebook, et al). If you have ideas, I want to hear 'em.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

What do y'all think?

I've read your initial comments on today's release, and i tend to agree that the TV folks are gumming up the works. I'll see what we can do about that (don't go deleting ratings on shows just yet... give us a chance to refine this). Have you guys updated your "personal statements"? Did anyone notice that we got the movie information (the "BOB") to pop up on those Most Loved/Hated box shots on the Community Home page. Finally. And your Friends' names are back in the activity block.

As for the genre similarity: any one movie might be in a number of genres and subgenres; we don't only look at how many movies in a given genre you've seen, but consider these in proportion to how many movies are in that particular genre, and how you tended to rate the movies in that genre.

Anyway, i thought this posting would be a better locale for your release feedback. I'm also glad we're done discussing the grammar of "my bad," it was one of the more radical thread departures i can remember...

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Talking about Netflix Community

Here's a question for you. I'd like more people to engage with these new features -- for instance, finding reviewers with movie tastes they like, and saving them. How do you suggest this spread?

Now before you say "send an email out to all netflix subscribers" or "put a little announcement of it on the netflix home page" let me reframe: let's say we did that. What would the announcement say? How do you describe what these things are, and how do you entice people to explore?

You all pretty much use these new features. How do you talk about them with your friends?

Sunday, September 2, 2007

The Future of Friends

When Favorites push out in a few weeks a couple interesting things will happen to Friends - and i wanted to explore them with you. First is this Friends & Faves page. It's not just that I added the Faves part - it has an inward facing (what you see) and outward facing (what other people see) state. Right now, there is only an inward facing part of Friends -- that is -- only you can see your friends. But shortly, there will be an outward facing version, and it will have a more anonymized version of the Friends page. It won't have sliders, and you won't be able to see rental history or queue info or notes... but you will be able to see that I have 5 friends. You'll be able to see them the same way you see reviewers: similarity %, nickname, avatar, 5-star ratings. And their friends. And while you cannot send these people notes or bug em, you can save them as your favorites, if you wanted. Just like a reviewer. This way, you can surf around from reviewer, to reviewer, to their Friends, to their Faves, and so on, checking out what people are enjoying, and so on.

(Draft of outward Friends and Faves page; no % on people means they haven't rated enough. Ignore the typo in the header...)

Now if you add someone to your Favorites list, they see you too, but in a different pile -- of FANS. You can always see your fans, check 'em out if you want (or ignore them; you could have hundreds if you're a great reviewer or make cool Top 10 Lists). On the inward facing version, these categories are separate -- but to the outside world, Friends, Faves and Fans are what you see. The similarity % are the similarity of these people to YOU, not to the person to whom they are connected. (I believe this is harder to write than to demonstrate, but i hope you can sort of visualize this).

The outward facing Friends & Faves page makes no distinction between Friends, Favorites (and fans). Just one big pile of people through which you can explore.

This is a very different proposition than the old Friends - where you have these very finite 1:1 connections. Favorites changes this, and seeing your Friends' friends changes this. Because of the anonymous profiles no one is really exposed, so it's a safe place to play and explore and look for movies.

And finally, these are just steps along a path of functionality. But this mid-September update will do some radical new things to the entire system. I count on you to tell me what you think - pro and con: let's hear it.

Friday, August 31, 2007


In my version of Thunderdome, six page ideas go in, and one page idea comes out. Let's see how y'all do prioritizing the following six possible pages we could build/improve:

1) Reviewer's Ratings Page. Right now it only shows 5-star movies. When you look at your Friends, you see all their ratings. What if you saw all a reviewer's ratings, along with being able to look at a variety of slices through them (again, as with Friends): their 5-star, 4-star, etc. movies, the movies you have in common, and so on)

2/3) Split the Reviews & Lists page into two pages -- one dedicated to Reviews and one for Top 10 Lists. This would make it far more logical when you select a Top 10 List and land on page - you'd see what you select opened up, presented clearly, instead of hunting for them. Space would be used better on both pages to separate these.

4) Outward Profile page. You've got an inward facing profile page where you can change your avatar and nickname. What if we put back the "personal statements" and then create an OUTWARD facing profile page -- the page that summarizes each Friend or reviewer, with key highlights and movie tastes, and so on.

5) Members Similar to You. One page full of similar members -- like that block of 4 on the community home page, but expanded.

6) Top 10 Lists page. Again, like the little block on the community home page, but with lots of these -- new ones, popular ones, etc.

(Let's tweak the stakes a bit, and say for the sake of argument that we'll only be able to do 3 of them, and that each page would take two weeks of effort.)

Finally, don't just think of superusers - like yourselves -- but what is good for other people, maybe who don't use the site as deeply or fluently as you do. Making the existing site easier is valued highly.

Can ya'll come to a consensus and convince each other of a single #1 option?

RSS (follow up) and Videos

I really like that RSS video... and in a moment of utter madness i just decided to insert it into the Netflix website. Stuck it into the FAQ on RSS. Why not?! (To give you a little glimpse of working at Netflix, this kind of behavior is rather encouraged). It was your feedback about the video that convinced me to see what would happen. I didn't even know we could insert videos into some of those FAQs...

So it got me thinking: are there other little videos that could be made that would help newbies understand elements of the Netflix service? What do you think needs explanation? I thought i'd put this out there: go ahead and make some of your own helpful short videos (put them on YouTube), and if they are good, i'll put 'em in some FAQs. (If they're not -- i'm certain everyone of your blog-reading pals will make sure you know it.)

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Movie Night

I'm thinking about putting together a little movie night for me and a few friends next week- i was hoping once a week, but it will probably end up once a month (family obligations being what they are)... so i found myself at Evite, thinking about setting this up. I landed here:

So I wondered: do you guys often watch movies with friends? Do you formally have movie nights, or movie clubs of some kind? And if you do - what can Netflix do to support, or facilitate this activity in some way?

Monday, August 27, 2007


The next important component to roll out, probably in mid-September, is the concept of "Favorites." When you see a reviewer you like - maybe they are similar to you, or maybe you just like the reviews they've written, or whatever - you can add them to your list of Favorites. These "Faves" will be placed on your Friends page (which - by the way-- will henceforth be called your Friends & Faves), and there you can hang onto them for future perusal.

When one of your favorites writes a review or rates a movie, it shows up on the Community Home Page sort of like a Friend does. Their new review is featured, their latest ratings show up in an Activity block. You can remove them any time you want. But most importantly, they are not notified, invited, or otherwise bothered to be part of this. If you review movies, someone can save you to their Favorites list. They become your fan, of sorts. They cannot see your Queue; they cannot see your Rental History; they cannot send you notes. It's just like now, but you don't have to stumble across them, you can hang onto them.

If you are a reviewer, and you're pretty good, you might start noticing you have these fans. You can't see much about them (nickname and sim%) unless they are reviewers, too. But you'll know that you have some. (Dare I say: your influence will go up!)

The Favorites concept provides a way to connect that is sort of less intense than Friends. It's more 'one-directional'. You might just use it with your lazy friends who don't really contribute much to you, but to whom you end up giving lots of ideas. They could just add you to their Favorites list, and keep up with your reviews or ratings, but you don't have to interact.

There are more subtleties to this that I'll describe shortly, but i wanted to give ya'll a sneak peek at the concept. You disliked Influence so much i simply can't wait to hear how you feel about this. No, seriously, this will be a good way to personalize your Netflix experience -- where you select the people who you want to give you movie ideas and commentary... from Roger Ebert to your best friend to that guy from Ohio who really is similar to you to some magazine that is posting movie reviews on Netflix consistently and is always good to check out when they are available...

So I have one question for ya'll, and i've asked it before but i'm asking again (and adding a poll to the side to see some numbers). What is the best language for the button? In a sense you are "subscribing" to someone's reviews - but that sounds like you have to sign up, or pay, and neither are the case. It is kind of a "bookmark" but it isn't really, not in the classic web sense, and could be confusing (is it? this is a strong contender here). You are adding them to your Favorites list, so something involving that ("Save to Faves"? "+Favorites"? or -- as someone suggested on this blog a month or so ago, they are a "Reviewer You Love" -- I'd love your feedback on these (or other) options. In the end, i will actually test which has the best usability, but i wonder how y'all do against the data. Don't forget to vote in the poll (as well as comment). Thank you.

Friday, August 24, 2007

"Millions of Members Helping You"

You know what's bothering me? That thing at the top that says "Millions of Members Helping You." It's true, but it's lousy. Somebody nail this for me, please. What is this page and how do you sum it up in a short line.

UPDATE: Get your suggestions in soon -- and next week i'll post a poll over to the right with some of the best from your comments.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Hey Friends Users:

Does anyone use and rely on the Friends Preferences page? You can change the name of your friend there, if for some reason their netflix account name doesn't suit you; you can delete Friends there, but you could delete them from anywhere if that was the best reason for keeping this (like in the slider, or on their profile page....) Clearly it would be better if all the Netflix prefs were together somewhere, and this probably isn't the ideal spot... Maybe we should retire it and move some of these functions somewhere smarter. So I wonder: Is this a useful page? Can someone defend it eloquently?

Friday, August 17, 2007

Let's talk about Search (baby)

Hi, Meghan here. I've been looking at ways of making search better. Way better. There are some obvious frustrations, like how hard it can be to find the specific episode of a tv series you want or if you don't know the title of the movie you're looking for and it can't find it by description. But I'm wondering if there are other things you've noticed that could be improved.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Do You Rank?

I'd like to introduce y'all to one of the small, but I think important, new features coming up this summer. Really, two related features. One is "rank" and the other is "influence."

INFLUENCE is how much your movie opinions seem to influence others about the movies they watch. We calculate influence with a complicated algorithm that takes a number of factors into account: perhaps the biggest chunk is simply how many movies you have reviewed. If you write reviews you probably have more influence on others than if you don't. If you have Friends you influence others, and more Friends probably gives you more influence. But it's not this simple. Bad reviews don't give you much (or any) influence. Writing reviews on movies with tons of reviews already also doesn't help that much -- so WHAT you review and that you write good reviews has more weight than sheer volume. (Writing a great review on a movie with very few reviews is a very good thing.)

Having an avatar image helps, as does having a personalized nickname. Having lots of movie ratings helps, but not alone -- it only helps if you have Friends or Reviews such that people look at your ratings. The fact that other people click on your avatar and check out your other reviews is very important. These page views go into the calculation. The more people check you out, the more influence you'd have. And the most weighted element is when other people actually add movies to their Queues from your pages, or from your custom lists. As you can see, it is a complicated series of factors, and we will be refining the weights and factors from time to time, but starting later this month (and I'll alert ya'll once I know a date for sure), we'll put your Influence score in your sidebar (near "Member Since..."). We will update these ranks every week or so (not nightly, like most stuff on the site), so numbers will drift around relatively slowly.

RANK is simply an ordered list of who among you has the highest INFLUENCE value. Which means, if you think about it, someone out there is going to be the Number 1 Movie Influencer at Netflix. At first we won't present the ranks as a scoreboard (that is, you can't just go and find #1) because i want to do some adjusting first. But eventually we'll make these lists of high ranking Netflixers available.

What do y'all think of this?

Saturday, August 11, 2007

RSS Explained

Saw this hand-made video online earlier this week (and inexplicably spent some time chatting with the creator this morning here at this Gnomedex conference); I quite enjoyed its explanation and wondered what y'all thought of it. If you didn't already know anything about RSS does this explain it? If you already do, would you show this to a friend? Do you think we should embed this (or a video like it) on the RSS page at Netflix to help explain this kind of feature? What do you think of video in general to explain things about the Netflix site or experience?Anyway, check it out:

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

"Latest Reviews"

We're going to be slowing down the flow in the Latest Reviews. A number of little aspects of this section will be improved as early as next week.
Looking a little further down the road, i wonder if any of you care about the reviewer or the sim% as much as the review and its rating. I know it is hard to judge as your opinion may change once this is flowing more normally and with control, but try anyway: what if these reviews were presented more like this:

(Ignore the review text - this is a sketch of how we could design this)

Is this better or worse than the current implementation? What else might you tweak here?

Thursday, July 26, 2007

New Features...(PREVIEW)

I love it when I get to show y'all the new features. Remember what I said: i am building to something here. Every few weeks you get another piece of the puzzle until it starts to look like what it is.

Early next week we will retire the Friends tab. It will henceforth be called "Community" (well, at least until we think of something better). NOTE: This does not mean the Friends feature will be gone - on the contrary, Friends is an important element for people in our community. The name on the tab is what is changing, and the Friends page itself is getting (sort of) demoted, so you access it from that sidebar. It will be clear when you get there.

There are four main components to this Community "Home" Page: the first is the column on the left labeled "Latest Reviews" -- It is a feed of the latest reviews as they are posted to Netflix, from anyone, on any movie. On each one you'll see the little avatar and Sim% and you can decide as they flow on by whether or not any of the flicks (uh, perhaps i should write "flix") interest you. It will run all the way through thousands of reviews, if you let it...

Tip #1: Moving your cursor into the column will stop the flow; move your cursor out and it starts again.

Next to this zone is another new element: a presentation of custom lists--which are now going to be called "Top 10 Lists" in spite of some of your protests. If you want to call it a custom list, go ahead. But we're writing "Top 10 Lists" on the website. These are not the most recently created lists. These are selected for you individually to have movies in them that we think might interest you based on some guesses about what you like. It's a crude sort of approximation, but custom lists are sort of fuzzy like that, and idiosyncratic, and personal. Check some out that interest you. Each time you refresh the page, the set of lists update. This can be fun. This can also drive you crazy. You'll see. It's not totally on purpose, but i kinda like it. Sometimes an unusual Top 10 List is a neat jumping off point to check out a new reviewer, which leads to their reviews and other Top 10 Lists.... and so on.

We've got a block here showing movies popular in your town. We've had this on the site home page for a long time, but I think its nice here. It's more for curiosity than anything else. What's fun is checking out other areas and seeing what's different there. Your home town. Some place where your friends live.

And finally, down toward the bottom, are a set of four reviewers from netflix, all strangers to you, with some of the highest Sim% we could find. They aren't the "most" similar, I suppose--but they are among the most similar.

I'd like to ask ya'll to explore the possibilities here. What interests you? Do you drill into the Top 10 Lists? Do you add movies to your Queue after discovering them here? How do you feel about those Similar Reviewers? All I'll say about the next few pieces is this: in short order, Friends users will have a few more elements here to approximate a new version of the old Friends Home page. And finally, yes, you'll be able to hang onto the people you find and like here. They won't be your friends and you won't be getting messages from people you don't know. But you will be able to keep an eye on them. And a few other things. But that will have to wait for a little bit. For now, start experiencing this new Community home. And I trust I will get your candid feedback. It's what y'all do best. Next week. Enjoy.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Discussion Thread: Your Queue

More or less? Sacrosanct page, simple and direct? or highly useful central core that steers your experience, and should it be packed with options, columns, and controls of various kinds. What should it do? How can it be simple yet more powerful? Is drag n' drop working for you? Sounds like various sorting options are highly desired. What else?

Discussion Thread: Friends - and Connecting to "Strangers"

Should we make it easy to find people you don't know -- but who might have high similarity to you or just share your movie taste in some small way -- and let y'all communicate with each other? In a perfect world it seems nice and easy enough. In the real world, this can be threatening, may pose some risks, and at best, makes the entire realm of community a little more complicated in that everyone has to set various privacy levels. Power users generally want more features and more openness, but we also want to be useful and to appeal to a more casual user. Can we make it simple for everyone, but still safe for kids/newbies, and fun for the rest?