When it comes to UX and UI, something that boggles my mind is how often this component gets ignored. The first week of the semester, we collectively took a look at Zara’s website and went over how poor the user experience is in many ways. As it stands, Zara’s website makes it almost impossible for the user to seamlessly navigate between categories and the menu configuration is hard to figure out. This got me to thinking about other websites/platforms that I use on a regular basis that also have a poor user experience, and I immediately thought of Hulu.
Hulu is a popular streaming platform that is also notorious for providing a confusing UX/UI experience. This has been the case for many years, and while the UI has changed a bit over time, it still remains one of the more unclear platforms to use compared to some of its competitors, such as Netflix. Upon googling, “Hulu poor user interface”, hundreds of articles and forums come up regarding this topic. The question has been posed on Reddit many times, Quora, and other articles have explored this question dating back to 2017. Other streaming platforms like Amazon Prime, Peacock, and HBO Max are met with similar feedback from users that their UI is impossible to navigate. HBO Max’s terrible UI experience has become a trending meme on Twitter with hundreds of thousands of likes.
After digging through some forums and reading some articles, I found a quote that particularly stuck out to me from UX designer Mike Donahue: “The biggest mistake most designers make is thinking that it’s the UI is what users care about. Newsflash, users don’t care about the UI. They care about accomplishing their goal. In the case of Hulu the goal is to watch a movie or TV show. As long as the right content is there, people will tolerate a ‘terrible user interface.'”
This concept doesn’t just apply to streaming platforms either; it applies to Zara as well. People ultimately want to buy clothes, and while it might be more of a pain to get there, as long as there’s a way to check out and buy trendy items (which is the end goal for the user), they likely will accept what they can get. This isn’t all to say that UX/UI isn’t important for companies, but it explains why successful companies might not focus on it as a primary objective compared to a startup. These successful companies like Hulu and Zara can rely on the reputation of their product and existing fanbase, while startups have to work harder to provide a seamless experience. That said, I don’t think Hulu and Zara should get off the hook for not fixing these UI issues that are a pain point for most people. Their products would be even better if they listened to audience feedback.
- Do you use Hulu? If so, does the interface bother you?
- Do you agree with Mike Donahue? Why or why not?