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Netflix is still optimized for the ADHD-addled

Published by marco on

Almost exactly 2 years ago, I wrote Dear Netflix: Have some respect for your content and your viewers, begging for Netflix to add a setting for adults, one that doesn’t auto-play trailers and content all the time.

Nothing has changed. The UI is still intensely eager to auto-play videos and trailers. It’s an incredibly hyperactive UI, almost afraid that if it stops making noise, it will die.

If you’re using the Samsung TV app, there is almost no way to have Netflix stay silent. The only way is to turn off auto-play and to watch at least one episode of something. Then—and only then—will you be allowed to choose when to start watching the next thing.

When you startNetflix, it will auto-play whatever it has auto-selected for you—usually a new show of theirs that you have not yet had a chance to express disinterest in—within seconds.

If you move the cursor somewhere else, it starts playing that next show, if you’ve already seen some of it.

If you haven’t seen the show, it aggressively plays the trailer. But it doesn’t even hide the chrome all around, showing the trailer with a bunch of text on top. It’s a complete disrespect for the content—it’s like it doesn’t even matter what it looks like, as long as something is playing. As long as something is making noise to drown out the engulfing silence of being alone with your thoughts—or lack thereof.

There is no way to “cue up” content and start it when you like. Netflix always wants to play your content immediately and doesn’t care if you need to go to the bathroom or get a drink or whatever. You have to wait until the content has started and then pause it. Or you have to wait until the unpausable stuff finishes and then pause it.

I’ve resorted to hitting the “back” button on the remote control to make Netflix ask me if I’m sure I want to quit. At least then the modal dialog acts as a sock in its mouth to keep Netflix’s fucking mouth shut.

And speaking of trailers: guess what happens if you’ve watched the 11th of 13 shows in season 3 of Jessica Jones and then you leave the cursor on Jessica Jones?

You guessed it—motherfucking Netflix starts playing the season 3 trailer for you.

Why? On what planet does that make any sense? I’m already watching the show. I don’t need to be enticed into watching it with a trailer.

They just always have to be making noise.

I don’t use the mobile version, but I know that the desktop-website version is also very interested in playing videos. At least in the Samsung TV app, when you click a show, it shows you the details first and waits a few seconds before playing content.

In the web site, all but 5% of the glyph for a show—the little arrow at the bottom, completely outside of the area condoned by Fitt’s Law—starts playing the show immediately. You have to aim carefully if you want to select the show and just add it to your list instead of starting it immediately like the ADHD content-addicted primate that you are.