The way YouTube and Netflix display videos could hardly be more different. While Netflix displays a film across the entire screen and hides entire user interface, YouTube confines the video to a relatively small section by default. And there is a lot going on around it.
Why is viewing experience on these platforms so different? The user apparently wants exactly the same thing in each case: to watch the video!
In this article we’ll examine an important keystone of digital products: The 3 fundamental intentions of use. Understanding and applying this differentiation shapes the direction, design, features and layout of all digital products. It’s a tool that every UX designer should have in their pocket.
And it explains why YouTube and Netflix play videos so differently.
Neither interface is bad. The billions in sales of both companies leave little doubt about that. However, the similarity of their goals ends once you look deeper.
We distinguish between three basic of use: Act, Understand and Explore. From this distinction, we can derive rules and requirements that clearly define the success of each interaction type, with clear guidelines for structuring the page and developing effective content. Here we’ll analyse how YouTube has committed itself to one intention of use in particular: »Explore«.