Feedback (finally!)

I’m a frequent Amazon Prime customer, and have been a major fan of the instant video feature. What’s been frustrating, though, is the lack of feedback distinguishing previously watched videos and how to move onto the next episode in a particular series. I realize that Amazon has limited space to do a large number of things:

  • Promote products
  • Recommend items (in a variety of ways – this takes up the most real estate and is filtered on various themes)
  • Provide browsing history

What I’m surprised by, though, is that Amazon doesn’t have a more personalized interface. Since Amazon is in a unique position of power – it requires all transactions to be done via account creation ¬†– it means all repeat customers have a “hot” or authenticated state. So why can’t Amazon recommend the next episode of the series I’m watching instead of telling me what customers also viewed? Amazon doesn’t yet have the ability to differentiate viewing habits between television series and movies, and reflect that need in its recommended items.

In the screen capture below, you can see that I’ve recently watched “Starship Down,” which is Season 4 episode 7 of Star Trek: Deep Space 9. But what’s next?!

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What I want is to watch the next episode, which is “The Sword of Kahless,” episode 8. The crucial elements: the season and episode number are not included in the “You Viewed” portion, which makes the season number in the “Customers who viewed this also viewed” pretty useless. I’m also frustrated that “Voyager” comes up when it’s pretty clear from my viewing history that I haven’t touched that crappy series in forever.

I’m not going to really comment on the huge promotion banner that dominates the largest portion of the page, causing me to scroll way down (hey, I guess their stakeholders at least believe users know how to scroll, so… that’s nice), because that seems like a business decision to me, but: it’s annoying. How come every holiday is an appropriate holiday to pimp out the kindle?

I am thrilled that there’s finally feedback for previous episodes watched!!!! I’m a tv series watcher, and have the hardest time remembering where I left off, and this makes me happy since the lack of ‘next episode’ functionality doesn’t yet exist on the user’s home page. I believe this new functionality is ADA compliant! Not only are there icons to indicate “watched,” there are also bolded contrast font as back-up, and the currently playing episode has the universal “play” (triangle) icon, is presented as a different color (but not completely reliant on it), and to the right, ¬†another CTA that reflects current/potential actions. Pretty sure that as users become more comfortable with “flatness” Amazon won’t need as many icons/CTAs but for now, it’s a great improvement to what was there previously. Win win win.

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Gotta watch Ben Sisko kick some Dominion butt.

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