Mastering User Experience: What Leading OTT Platforms Teach Us About The Importance of UX

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Netflix knows what you want to watch next. Sometimes, creepily so!

This is what we have come to expect from Over-the-Top (OTT) platform giants like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu. It’s a level of hyper-personalization and instant access that we can all learn from, even if we don’t have the tech or budget of a huge company. 

Because what sets them apart isn’t just their content—it’s the relentless focus on providing an unparalleled user experience. Here are some of the top lessons in user experience we can learn from OTT giants. 

But first, what is the OTT industry?

OTT, which stands for ‘Over-the-Top’, refers to delivering video content to viewers via the internet, bypassing traditional cable or satellite television services. Unlike the conventional methods that required a cable subscription or satellite dish installation, OTT allows users to access a wide range of content directly over the internet. OTT services are typically platform-agnostic, meaning they can be accessed on various devices such as smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, and computers. These platforms have reshaped the media landscape by offering viewers the freedom to choose what, when, and where they want to watch, making them a dominant force in today’s entertainment industry. 

The importance of user experience in media 

Competition for viewers’ attention is fierce, and the significance of user experience in modern media cannot be overstated. With endless entertainment options at their fingertips, consumers have become discerning, expecting not just content but a seamless, enjoyable journey.  

That’s why user experience has become king. It determines whether viewers remain engaged or opt for alternative platforms. Content is only half the battle – the other half is how you deliver it! 

Here’s how the big guys do it:  

1. Streamlined User Interfaces (UIs) 

Leading OTT providers excel in crafting intuitive UIs that make navigation easy. Take Netflix, for instance, with its clean and straightforward interface. It greets you with personalized content recommendations, tailored to your viewing history, and recommendations based on your likes. 

2. Tailored Personalization 

Personalization is at the heart of the OTT user experience. These platforms analyze your behavior, preferences, and watch history to curate content recommendations. The more you watch, the better the platform becomes at suggesting content that aligns with your tastes. 

3. Discovering New Content 

Content discovery is a crucial aspect of the OTT user experience. Finding what you want should be easy, but it’s also essential to stumble upon exciting new content effortlessly. This is where robust search and recommendation features come into play. 

4. Works Seamlessly Cross-Devices 

Viewers expect to transition effortlessly between devices. Whether you start a movie on your smart TV and finish it on your smartphone during your commute, OTT platforms understand the importance of cross-device compatibility. 

5. High-Quality Streaming 

User experience in the OTT industry is closely linked to streaming quality. Buffering, lag, or pixelation can mar your experience and prompt you to unsubscribe. To combat this, top OTT providers invest heavily in content delivery networks (CDNs) and adaptive streaming technology. 

6. Accessibility and Inclusivity 

Accessibility is a cornerstone of a positive user experience. OTT platforms are increasingly adopting features like closed captioning, audio descriptions, and multiple language options to ensure their content is accessible to all. 

User experience remains pivotal to the success of the OTT industry. Taking the lessons from leading OTT providers – aka prioritizing intuitive UIs, personalization, content discovery, and accessibility – can help you tailor your own content and platform. As the OTT industry continues to evolve, the bar for user experience will only rise higher, and the platforms that prioritize it will undoubtedly remain at the forefront of this digital revolution. 

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