Skip Intro - Netflix Case Study Breakdown
I stumbled on this short case study/retro on the infamous ‘skip intro’ button from Netflix. Here are my thoughts. Emphasis mine, and lightly edited.
“On Netflix in a typical day, the Skip Intro button is pressed 136 million times, saving members an astonishing 195 years in cumulative time!”
It’s always nice to start at the end. The writer explains why this is an important project, backed up with hard numbers.
“…some designers and I were discussing how to help members get the most out of their Netflix experience. Sometimes you want to find a particular moment you love — that awesome action scene or the big reveal of that can’t-believe-it twist — or rewatch a favorite joke.”
This answers important initial questions like “How did the project start? Who was involved? What was the original user problem/need?”
“An idea was floated to add skip forward and skip backward buttons in 10-second increments. The reason to offer a skip back 10 seconds was obvious: maybe you got distracted and missed a particular moment.”
Original design solution and rationale.
“But why skip forward 10 seconds?”
Uh oh. Here’s the conflict. Their solution isn’t elegant in all situations.
“At the same time, I was watching Game of Thrones, which has a famously long (and beautiful) opening credits sequence. I found the show so compelling that I wanted to skip the credits and jump right into the story, and I found it frustrating to try to manually jump forward to just the right place. Sometimes I would jump too far, and sometimes I would jump too short. I wondered whether other people felt the same.”
Here’s a new insight/understanding about user behavior. There’s a specific user frustration that he believes might impact many users.
“We did research and found that in about 15% of the time members were manually advancing the series within the first five minutes. This gave us confidence that a lot of people wanted to skip the intro.”
Boom. Validates the hypothesis.
“Rather than build a general purpose solution that might help a little with several different needs, like a skip forward 10 seconds button, we designed a single purpose solution that did only one thing really well.”
Solution + rationale. We designed something that solves this particular problem.
“Our goal was to make this option as simple as possible while also giving members flexibility if they want to listen to that catchy theme song again (and again). The button should appear on screen only when needed and it should work with a single click. To find a name for the button, we brainstormed a few options including Jump Past Credits, Skip Credits, Jump Ahead, Skip Intro and simply Skip and then started to test the feature with a random set of members.”
Here he’s answering, “Why did you design it that way?” This is the design approach, including some rough principles to guide how it should work. Explains his design decisions, including the name, which they tested thoroughly.
“Our simple idea had huge engagement from members (with Skip Intro the best performing name) and lots of love on social media. Over the past five years, it’s been gratifying to see Skip Intro become a beloved feature adopted by many other streaming services, bringing a little moment of delight to audiences around the world.”
We already knew this was a success from the intro paragraph, but here’s some more results. Not only did they solve the problem, but it was so successful that other products copied it.