How to improve the disjointed experience of streaming services

Michael Hibbert

Director of Business Development, Technology, Media and Telecoms (TMT) US

8 min read

Streaming services are undoubtedly taking over the video content market. With the cord cutting movement in full swing, content providers are shifting their attention to streaming platforms. Major industry leaders such as Disney and Amazon are competing to offer the best user experience possible, but even veteran platforms sometimes have trouble offering a seamless UX.

Streaming providers have made it incredibly easy to view content, no matter the platform. But there is more to a streaming service than the content. What happens when an account changes or someone needs to update relevant information? Account management features often times, remain an out of app experience that most users have to handle on their own. The result is a disjointed experience that saps users’ ability to fully enjoy the content.


A disjointed experience lacks cohesion or direction, and can be incredibly jarring for first time users who don’t fully understand the ins and outs of the application. For many, this could result in giving up on the service completely, moving on to one of the many competitors. A focus on all aspects of the customer is paramount to success in an increasingly saturated streaming market. Here’s how streaming service providers can create a seamless experience for their user base:

Understanding the audience

Providers need to collect data about their users in order to understand them. This gives valuable insight into things such as to devices they use, what they’re looking for, price range, and even the color and feature position. 


Once providers have the data, it’s up to the internal team to then ask themselves if they are developing a product simply to grow revenue or if it speaks to what users want. When brands prioritize UX during product development they tend to enjoy strong subscription rates and user figures through strong customer-centric design. 


For example, although The New York Times isn’t a streaming service, there is something to be learned from the way they process data to understand their audience. The NYT conducted extensive user research to collect feedback as to how users wanted to engage with content digitally. They then used the feedback to design great apps which catered directly to user needs. With quality UX, NYT subscribers can enjoy consuming content without a jarring or disjointed experience across platforms.

Building for reach

Many streaming services pride themselves on offering a great user experience, but are they truly providing a cohesive cross-platform experience? Ease of access across multiple devices is essential as society trends towards an increasingly mobile future.


One notable example is Hulu. The streaming platform’s mobile app allows users to seamlessly view content no matter where they are based on their subscription level. However, what if someone hears about a great show at work and would like to change their account on the spot? This is where the issue lies: Hulu’s mobile app doesn’t allow users to modify their accounts. A user will have to log onto in order to make the changes.


On the other hand, reach is far more valuable for Netflix, which puts less emphasis on account sharing. Users can easily add multiple people on their account using any device. By providing flexibility for those using its product, the end result is that more people use the service. Netflix is ahead of the game in providing exemplary user experience – look no further than its powerful recommendation engine.

Improve internal communication

Companies often have massive teams that don’t communicate well with each other. If UX teams don’t communicate with product teams or tech teams, there will be discrepancies in design choice that will lead to a negative user experience.


When different teams aren’t completely in sync across all stages of a project, things will get lost in translation. For example, a designer might have a plan in mind for a screen, but the only person they speak to is the product representative. The product representative then works with the development team, responding to user feedback to move the project forward. If the product representative doesn’t communicate clearly with both the designer and the development team, the end result can appear disjointed. 


Many times, engineers don’t hear user feedback at all. To counter this, companies should include a representative from each team involved to the feedback sessions in order for everyone to stay up-to-date and aware of the project’s direction. HBO is one such company, and its success in the streaming market is due in large part to its focus on internal communication. 


With more streaming services than ever before, the next step is to create a product or service that goes above and beyond great content. If content creators don’t want to lose their viewers to competitors, streaming platforms will need to provide a seamless user experience.

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