If you've already read one of our other articles comparing Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+, feel free to skip the following introduction and read straight on to the "Aesthetics" section.
The three established video-on-demand (VoD) providers Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+ all basically promise the same thing: watch whatever you like best at any time. And yet the implementation in the details and thus the success of the providers are different. Netflix currently leads the way with around 208 million subscribers worldwide, followed by Amazon Prime Video with strong growth in 2020 and currently around 150 million subscribers. Still quite new to the market, the provider Disney+ can count 100 million subscribers worldwide (as of 24.06.2021).
Do the numbers of subscribers also reflect the user experience with the product? Why do we like Netflix better than Amazon Prime Video or the other way around? Are there specific things we can name or is it simply the big picture that convinces us more with one provider than the other? Most of the time, we can't put it exactly into words, or it's just a couple of good experiences with the one product that inspires a positive feeling in us. That's why we tried to put into numbers what differentiates Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+ from each other and present our findings here.
To measure quantitatively, we used the User Experience Questionnaire + (UEQ+). The UEQ measures user experience based on 6 scales. Each scale has opposing word pairs that describe the experience (eg. complicated - simple). The UEQ+ is the modular version of the UEQ questionnaire and allows to choose from multiple scales. In this way, the survey can be better adapted to the respective product, since not all scales are suitable for all products.
The respondents were asked exclusively about their experience with one of the three providers in relation to TV usage. Thus, the results only reflect the experience of TV usage; mobile and PC usage are not included. We asked more than 60 respondents to rate the following five scales, 20 respondents per provider:
The range of the scales is between -3 (terribly bad) and +3 (extremely good). Due to the calculation of mean values across different subjects with different opinions, it is extremely unlikely to observe values above +2 or below -2. This article describes the evaluation of the aesthetics scale. The provider Netflix scored best. Why is that? Feel free to read on.
"Users have the impression that the product looks beautiful and appealing."
Many studies prove the positive effect of aesthetics on user experience. Aesthetics influence a variety of factors and constructs, such as usability, satisfaction, likelihood of revisiting, or willingness to buy. This is how the so-called aesthetic usability effect came about in 1995, which states that users perceive an aesthetically attractive product as more usable than an "ugly" product, even if this is not the case in reality. Aesthetics and user experience are closely linked. Somewhere in our subconscious, this link seems to be anchored that beautiful products work better. Analogously, studies can be found that show that attractive people perform better in job interviews than less attractive people. For many psychologists it is already scientifically boring or uninteresting to examine the fact whether we attribute better character traits to attractive people than to unattractive people. Because the result is always the same. If you ask people to find character traits on the basis of pictures, attractive people consistently get positive qualities. In fact, this correlation does not exist. Attractive people are not naturally smarter, more lovable or generally speaking better people. Nevertheless, our subconscious mind is apparently unimpressed by this fact. A similar reaction as with visual aesthetics and the effect on usability.
Aesthetics become particularly important when there are several competing products that are the same in terms of usability and comparable in terms of content. And thus this is a serious scale for video-on-demand providers. Users expect a harmonizing interplay of design elements. This includes imagery, typography, animation and sound.
Consider the winner of the visual aesthetics scale. Netflix offers a user interface that picks up on current trends and the style of the time. Dark modes are being pushed massively right now and also fit well with the context in which users consume Netflix. Often in the evening hours, when it is also darker outside and in one's own room, in a cozy atmosphere. Icons are set discreetly and elegantly in flat design and are mainly designed with outlines only. The platform's ghost buttons fit in perfectly with this - ghost buttons are buttons that do not have a full background color, but only a colored border.
Amazon Prime Video takes second place. As with the description of the other scales in our survey, a pragmatic and thrown-together whole can be seen. The typography is kept very simple and timeless with a sans serif font. There are no standout details in other design elements. For the buttons, Amazon Prime Video relies on practical sizes rather than design details. The appearance is neither particularly appealing nor particularly off-putting and reinforces the impression that no attention is paid to subtleties and current trends here.
Rather surprising is the rating of the users for the provider Disney+, which receives the worst average rating compared to Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. From a design perspective, Disney+ basically does everything right. The flat icons with the rounded corners give the platform something playful. The rounded corners continue consistently in the tiles of the movies and series. The design of the pagination as circles also keeps this pattern. The dominant background color is dark blue - the favorite color of many people. It evokes associations such as the sea, sky and vastness and fits just as well as black to a cozy living room environment. As with the results for Disney+ in the novelty section, the reason for the rating could also be unfulfilled expectations of the users. Since Disney+ was launched after the other two video-on-demand services and, for a non-designer, has a similar structure to Netflix, it is even more challenging for the provider to score in the visual aesthetics category.
The general impression is that the video-on-demand world has reached a saturation point in terms of visual presentation. The balance between functionality, access to content and aesthetics must always be guaranteed. It remains to be seen what the various services will come up with in this regard and how new trends will be taken up in the future.
This blog article is part of the series "A quantitative comparison of the user experience of Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney +". If you're interested in how the three providers scored on the other four scales, we'll link to the articles here.
Further information and sources:
https://de.statista.com/statistik/daten/studie/196642/umfrage/abonnenten-von-netflix-quartalszahlen/ (last accessed on June 24th 2021)
https://t3n.de/news/amazon-hat-weltweit-150-millionen-1247966/ (last accessed on June 24th 2021)
https://de.statista.com/statistik/daten/studie/1186805/umfrage/abonnenten-von-disney-plus/ (last accessed on June 24th 2021)
https://www.spektrum.de/lexikon/psychologie/vertrauen/16374 (last accessed on June 24th 2021)
https://new-dl.gi.de/bitstream/handle/20.500.12116/180/bitstream_8798.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y (last accessed on June 24th 2021)
https://www.wiwo.de/erfolg/karrierefaktor-aussehen-schoenen-menschen-verzeiht-man-fehler/19296130-2.html (last accessed on June 24th 2021)
http://www.thielsch.org/download/jaron_2009.pdf (last accessed on June 24th 2021)
https://epub.uni-regensburg.de/32381/1/Dissertation_Strebe_final.pdf (last accessed on June 24th 2021)
https://www.grin.com/document/337455 (last accessed on June 24th 2021)