UX research: How users find & consume content

An exploratory user study to learn how people like to use services such as Netflix or Spotify for streaming content.


A word on Process

The study started from an assumption that people want services to highlight & recommend content (movies, series, music, books). Initially, the purpose of the study was to learn more about this specific need, to be able to better implement a recommendation algorithm. 

User interviews quickly revealed that people do not put much faith in algorithms when it comes to recommendations. Rather, they trust what their friends and family tell them, for a simple reason: "they know me".

Following this insight, we did desk research to uncover all possible ways to find and discover content. This led to a comprehensive content discovery model, covering facets such as search, manual browsing, and recommendations.

Our model demonstrated that there are many possibilities - in fact, there are way too many to realistically build into a service in a short timespan. We had to prioritise!

The next step in the process became learning which ones would provide the greatest outcome (value) for the user. To uncover this, we took a three-pronged approach: 1) we conducted user interviews, 2) during the interviews we had our respondents test out a working prototype, and 3) we conducted a survey.

We learnt a lot about recommendations and about the ways in which users consume content through streaming services. Specifically, we had 6 major insights and a number of lesser insights. You can read all about it in this article.