top of page

Netflix iOS app feature

Netflix is an online streaming platform that most people have either used or heard of before. The user experience is well designed and the design system is extensive and extremely thorough. Netflix is a platform that I personally really admire and enjoy, so as a personal project, I decided to take up the challenge and see if I could add anything that might improve it.

netflix UI.png

The idea that I thought of was to design and integrate a watchlist feature. Simply put, this feature will allow a Netflix user to create curated watchlists using available content on the platform. To achieve this task I referred to the iOS design guidelines available online. This ensured that I was able to integrate my new feature in accordance with accepted user behaviour patterns in an iOS mobile app environment.


To check whether my idea was workable I did a competitor analysis, comparing Netflix to three other online streaming services: Disney PlusApple TV and Amazon Prime. This analysis revealed that Netflix’s value proposition focusses on convenience and choice, providing on-demand streaming of high quality entertainment to its user 24/7. In light of this, a watchlist feature would enforce convenience, add to a user’s ability to choose, and give them added control over their viewing experience.

Their subscription fee is notably more than their competitors, which confirms that users recognise the value and are willing to pay extra for their product. This means that the cost of adding a new feature would be viable.

I also did a feature analysis to check if a watchlist feature is something that is already out there as a feature and found that two out of the four services that I was analysing already offer a form of watchlist feature.


I did a quick survey using Google forms to find out more about user viewing habits and preferences and what the users thought of a watchlist feature. I found out that more that half of the users who responded to my survey watch Netflix everyday. Almost half of them are simultaneously watching more than one show at any given time, and 75% tend to watch for more than an hour at a time. From these results I was able to deduce that a watchlist feature could be a useful feature as users watch regularly and often more than one show in a single sitting.


To get richer and more qualitative information I conducted six interviews with a range of Netflix users. I arranged the responses in an affinity diagram so that I could get an overview and analyse the results.


The feedback was positive and the ideas and suggestions that I got were really useful when it came to thinking through and designing the user experience. More specifically I got interesting input around time management. Users want to create a watch list in advance so that they don’t waste time choosing shows during their viewing experience, and one user commented that it would be useful to create a time-based watchlist to help them plan their evening in advance.


With this quantitative and qualitative information I created a primary user persona to help me stay on track during the user experience design process.

Billy is a 22 year old student living in London. He likes to work hard and play hard and for him playing hard is relaxing in front of a favourite show. He has two main pain points. The first is struggling to choose shows to watch when with a group of friends. The other is a tendency to binge-watch and losing track of time while watching.


Because of Netflix’s diverse target market I also looked at a secondary persona. Miranda is a 36 year old professional living in Germany. She has two young kids and lets them watch Netflix under supervision.

She wants to know that her kids are not being exposed to anything inappropriate or faced with overwhelming choice at their impressionable age. A watch list would mean she could let them watch a set time of television that is curated for them by herself.


In considering all the information gathered during the research phase and these personas and their needs, I created my problem statement: Regular Netflix users need to create a watch list of curated entertainment because they want to have control of the viewing experience.

After defining the problem I then brainstormed a series of “How Might We’s” (HMW) to help me to develop the best design solution for my feature idea. The HMW that I chose to focus on was: How might we make it hassle free for a user to create a Netflix watchlist.

It is really important to me that the watchlist feature integrates seamlessly with the existing Netflix platform, but also adds to the user experience and is easy to use. Tying back to Netflix’s value proposition on entertainment, leisure and convenience, interacting with the feature must be intuitive and effortless.


With the problem statement and HMW front of mind I defined a minimum viable product (MVP) using the Moscow map method. There are potentially so many ideas and possible add-ons to this feature concept such as sharing, user networking and user ratings, but I first needed to focus on the essential functionality.

The MVP needs to have a watchlist page consolidating the user’s watchlists. Next, the user needs to be able to create and name multiple watchlists, adding shows while browsing. There needs to be a search functionality so that a user can find something specific to add to a watchlist. It must be possible to see the running time of the watchlist while creating it. And lastly, users must be able to easily play, edit or delete a watchlist.

I set up the site map of the existing Netflix app to analyse the structure and plan where the watchlist feature would fit in. I then reworked the site map to include the feature. It would be accessed from the primary navigation, positioned at the bottom of the mobile screen.

To design the user experience based on the new site map, I determined a happy path for the user task: Create and name a new watchlist, add content (including specified movies and series episodes) to reach a playtime of about 3.5 hours. The happy path included six main steps from beginning to end.


With the user flow defined in detail I created a low fidelity prototype of the app, with sketches that visually expressed every step of the process. Using these sketches I did concept testing.


I got multiple users to try out the feature and collated their suggestions and criticisms. The following points were actioned and integrated in the mid- and high fidelity:

  1. Simplify the home page by combining the “Add to My List” and “Add to Watch List” as one icon/button

  2. Rework the watch list icon as it wasn’t clear or easily recognisable

  3. Remove the confirmation pop up as this feedback could be integrated more intuitively into the UI by a simple icon change

  4. Relook the wording of all call-to-action buttons. In most cases they needed to be more specific and relate to the action at hand. iOS guidelines state that the text on a button must describe a definitive action which I needed to fix across my design.


With feedback integrated I used Figma to create a high fidelity version of the design and a working prototype.


Testing followed and I did some in person usability testing as well as remote testing using Maze. The feedback was for the most part positive with a 70% direct success in task completion. 83% of users said that they would use the feature if it was available and on average users found the added feature easy to navigate.


Working on this project I learnt a lot about how to use the iOS guidelines and they really sped up design decisions. I found out that even the simplest feature can be really complex if you consider every possible user path. The UX ideation tools helped to keep things focused I found Maze a really great remote usability testing tool as it guides the tester through he process and the dashboard provides great qualitative feedback.

The next steps on this project will be to think through the social networking opportunities of this feature and to look into how pre-suggested watch lists can be created by Netflix based on a user viewing history and preferences.

bottom of page