Do you ever fire up a streaming video app like Netflix, Disney+, or HBO Max, only to find yourself a little annoyed? Maybe you can’t even pinpoint the problem, but you know the app is harder to use than it could be. John Siracusa is famous for his hypercritical analyses of everything from macOS to toaster ovens, and now he has taken aim at streaming video apps like Netflix, putting into words annoyances that you might not have been able to express.
Siracusa’s criteria are entirely reasonable. Can you play and pause with a single tap? Does the service automatically play the next episode? Can you create a custom list of media? Does the app keep track of what you’ve watched and your viewing progress?
Unfortunately, many popular apps don’t meet even this low bar. One of my personal annoyances is how poorly Hulu handles rewatching shows. My wife tends to watch Frasier on repeat, and Hulu often starts playback of previously watched episodes at the very end of the show, so when she falls asleep on the couch, I’m treated to a litany of “tossed salads and scrambled eggs” until I shut it off. Subsequent commentary has suggested that streaming video companies care only about features that cause users to watch more content or see more ads, not those that improve the watching experience.