Too Much TV: Your TV Talking Points For Wednesday, November 23rd, 2022
What Twitter UX can teach streamers about user behavior.
Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Wednesday, November 23rd, 2022.
Just a reminder, today's newsletter is the last one for this week. I'll be back next Monday with plenty of post-holiday news, although I might sneak in a brief holiday edition of the newsletter if breaking news requires it. Happy Thanksgiving to all of my readers in the U.S.
SPEAKING OF THANKSGIVING
I just wanted to thank all of you for the support of my work. Both on AllYourScreens.com as well as with this newsletter. And a special thanks to the people who have opted for a paid subscription, which helps keep this free for everyone. And helps me feed my perpetually hungry 17-year-old.
Also, a big thank you to everyone who has passed along tips, spoken to me off-the-record, on background and on the record this year. You've helped me build a point-of-view about the industry that is distinctive and I think that is much of the reason why people find this newsletter valuable.
HUMANS ARE GOING TO BE HUMANS
Most of the Bob Iger discussions I've seen this week focus on the big strategic moves he could make with Disney's streaming assets. There are a lot of high-level "Hulu should do this" or "Disney+ needs this type of content" and those are all worthwhile and important discussions.
But the truth is that a lot of the success at any streamer is also the result of dull, everyday decisions and work that doesn't get a lot of attention from the trade press. You can greenlight the best originals in the world. But if PR and marketing doesn't properly highlight them, their value is limited.
And that's also the case with things such as a streamer's user experience. UX decisions are often driven by factors which don't actually move the needle or satisfy users. For instance, highlighting specific content because an executive believes in the project or because it's part of a new deal and streamer executives want to keep everyone happy.
One of the challenges with discussing streamer UX issues from the outside of the process is that human behavior online is often counter-intuitive. One thing I quickly learned when I was working in the Silicon Valley back in the day is that when you follow heat maps that track how users interact with a platform, there are almost always surprises. People move and explore in ways that might not make sense to you. But you're a fool if you don't try and give people what they want.
All of this was brought back to me after receiving some thoughts from someone who used to be a designer at Twitter. He has some great insight into how customers used Twitter and I think his points about human behavior translate very well when discussing streaming platforms and their UX decisions:
"If you talk to high-level users of Twitter, they are way more likely to love reverse-chronological feed with no algorithm.
The problem Twitter had in the beginning is that we quickly discovered that most users HATED that approach.
The reason Twitter almost died so many times at the start is that normal people aren't looking for an IRC or RSS experience. So people joined, got frustrated, and left.
We conducted hundreds of design research studies and we discovered that most people who did stick around casually used Twitter for up to three years before they became "healthy" users.
I suspect this is one of the reasons why so many people who have tried Mastodon after years on Twitter dislike the experience. They don't want a reverse-chronological feed. They don't want to "curate" their feed. So they quickly become frustrated.
Designers love talking about empathy, but it can be hard to walk the walk. What do you do when literally 97% of your users are saying "I don't like trying to curate a good timeline, and I don't like having to scroll to keep up with everything, and I feel like I'm missing out on the good stuff, and I'm confused?"
Bad designers say "Deal with it."
Good designers say "Hm. This is a problem to solve."
And that's where algorithmic timelines, guide, moments, editorial content, etc. at Twitter came from.
I remember when we moved from strict reverse-chron (which 97% struggle with) to "You might like" prompts (which 3% struggle with) and hearing from the VERY LOUD minority that we were destroying Twitter.
But we saw as the 97% had a much better time. We saw that every step forward we took (I have a whole presentation on this) was helping people more and more.
The data told us we were making a better product. And that reverse-chron kinda sucks. For most people.
I remember when we added quote tweet, and we have the receipts. It does *not* increase abuse.
You know what increases abuse? Reverse-chron replies without any sorting or algorithm, because someone can say "Kill yourself" as the first response. It becomes a game. It silences people.
We rolled out mute keywords, which people SCREAMED at us about, saying it was killing the concept of "just show me everything" Twitter.
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Victims of abuse, who aren't nearly as loud, thanked us quietly.
We rolled out "hide replies" which almost caused an internal riot, and was shelved for three years, but eventually it went live.
Again, some people said we were killing Twitter. Again, they were wrong.
One of the most important decisions you can make as a designer is to *listen to your users.*
They'll guide you to some features that cannot be optional in a system like this. And, sorry, a lot of them won't be the decisions you would have made.
Not because people have baggage, or because they don't know what's good for them. But because humans are going to human and certain things are inevitable."
All of streaming platforms have their own specific usability issues. Because I write about issues a lot, I tend to hear a lot from project managers, designers and other people fighting the UX battle on a daily basis. Most of them time speak to me off-the-record. Which is too bad, because they have the type of insight that isn't brought into the public discourse nearly enough.
And wrapping this back around to Disney...Disney+ desperately needs a UX upgrade. But that decision likely rests on the eventual fate of Hulu and whether Bob Iger wants to roll everything into one big Disney streamer.
TWEET OF THE DAY
WHAT'S NEW FOR WEDNESDAY (AND THE WEEKEND):
Blood, Sex & Royalty (Netflix)
Christmas On Mistletoe Farm (Netflix)
Daddies On Request (Disney+)
Echo 3 Series Premiere (Apple TV+)
Good Night Oppy (Prime Video)
Lesson Plan (Netflix)
Marvel Studios Legends: Drax & Mantis (Disney+)
Pitch Perfect: Bumper In Berlin Series Premiere (Peacock)
Taco Chronicles: Cross the Border (Netflix)
The Swimmers (Netflix)
The Unbroken Voice (Netflix)
Tutankhamun: Allies & Enemies (PBS)
Wednesday Series Premiere (Netflix)
Who's A Good Boy? (Netflix)
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 24TH, 2022:
A Christmas Mystery (HBO Max)
Baking All The Way (Lifetime)
Criminal Minds: Evolution Series Premiere (Paramount+)
First Love (Netflix)
Good Rivals Series Premiere (Netflix)
Holiday Harmony (HBO Max)
Holiday Hideaway (BET+)
Laid-Back Camp: The Movie (Crunchyroll)
Love, Lizzo (HBO Max)
My Southern Family Christmas (Hallmark)
Sword Art Online The Movie (Crunchyroll)
The Christmas Clapback (BET+)
The Noel Diary (Netflix)
The Sound Of Christmas (BET+)
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 25TH, 2022:
A Royal Corgi Christmas (Hallmark)
Blood & Water Season Three Premiere (Netflix)
Christmas At The Drive-In (Great American Family)
Destination Fear Season Premiere (Travel)
Fantasy Football (Paramount+)
Fatal Family Reunion (LMN)
Ghislaine Maxwell: Filthy Rich (Netflix)
Great Performances: Josh Groban’s Great Big Radio City Show (PBS)
How Do They Do It? Season Premiere (Science)
Jeff Dunham: Me The People (Comedy Central)
Khakee: The Bihar Chapter (Netflix)
Korea #1 (Netflix)
Steppin' Into The Holiday (Lifetime)
The Croods: Family Tree (Hulu/Peacock)
The Guardians Of The Galaxy Holiday Special (Disney+)
The Hip Hop Nutcracker (Disney+)
The Lost Patient (Netflix)
We're Here (HBO)
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 26TH:
A Tale Of Two Christmases (Hallmark)
Faith Heist: A Christmas Caper (Bounce)
Haul Out The Holly (Hallmark)
I'm Glad It's Christmas (Great American Family)
The 12 Days Of Christmas Eve (Lifetime)
Time For Him To Come Home For Christmas (Hallmark Movies & Mysteries)
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 27TH:
A Christmas Cookie Catastrophe (Hallmark)
A Christmas Spark (Lifetime)
A Holiday Spectacular (Hallmark)
Candace Cameron Bure Presents: A Christmas...Present (Great American Family)
Dognapped: Hound For The Holidays (ION)
Krapopolis Sneak Preview (Fox)
Mickey Saves Christmas (Disney Jr.)
The Kingdom Exodus (Mubi)
Click Here to see the list of all of the upcoming premiere dates for the next few months.
SEE YOU MONDAY!
If you have any feedback, send it along to Rick@AllYourScreens.com and follow me on Twitter @aysrick.