Amazon excels at making a seemingly endless selection of retail items feel organized and accessible. So why has its streaming service Prime Video had such an ugly, clunky interface for so long? “Amazon Prime Video’s library really isn’t searchable anymore,” online entertainment magazine Paste explained in a headline last year. As the streaming business became more competitive, particularly with the arrival of shiny new entrants like Disney+ and HBO Max, the poorly designed Prime Video interface stood out even more.
On Monday, Amazon finally got into the game, unveiling a redesign that took 18 months in the works that includes a simplified main navigation menu, a more direct path to sports programming, a new way to highlight live TV, and carousels designed to improve the UI cinematic and help users find what they want to watch faster.
The revamp comes as Amazon digs deeper into the entertainment business. The tech giant completed its $8.5 billion acquisition of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in March. It will pay the National Football League an estimated $1 billion annually for exclusive national broadcast rights to Thursday Night Football, a deal that begins in September. Prime Video’s mega-budget series Lord of the Rings will also launch this month. During the recent Prime Day, Amazon’s annual member sales event, the company slashed the prices of its new Fire flat-screen TVs by up to 40 percent.
Leading streaming service Netflix is also currently back on its heels after losing subscribers in its spring quarter for the first time in a decade, with more losses expected to be announced on Tuesday.
As part of Amazon’s redesign, users will notice a new color palette, larger graphics, and a more prominent top 10 list. Given Amazon’s efforts to compete with Roku and Apple to sell subscriptions to third-party services like Paramount+ and BritBox, the new interface improves the way such subscriptions are integrated. (Amazon calls these other streaming platforms channels.)
“It’s important to us that customers understand the wide range of choices they have and the benefit of using the Prime Video application for all their streaming,” said Helena Cerna, director of product management at Amazon, in a video interview . In a blog post, Amazon said the overhaul would make Prime Video “less busy and overwhelming.”
The new interface will be rolled out globally this week, with living room and Android devices leading the way, Ms Cerna said.
In a way, the redesign makes Prime Video look more like competing apps, including Netflix. “We really wanted to make the Prime Video experience effortless, engaging and easy to use,” said Ms. Cerna. “Part of ease of use is familiarity. In cases where there are established patterns in the wild, we use them.”