Fixing the My Stuff feature to increase usability for Hulu users.
I'm a big fan of modern television streaming services, including Hulu. However, as a paying customer, their interface design often leaves me unfulfilled. There are quite a few usability issues with their interface that have been written about in other articles, but I'd like to address an issue that has made my experience worse for over a year.
Hulu has a feature called My Stuff. Essentially, it's a way for users to bookmark shows and movies to quickly find them again later. It's simple to add shows to My Stuff, just click the plus icon from that show's feature page. But removing it from My Stuff isn't so simple.
I am not a fan of clutter, so if I'm done watching a show, I remove it from My Stuff. About a year ago, I was tidying up, and clicked on the My Stuff icon for the tv show Catfish (don't judge me, I was getting rid of it, okay). The icon switched from the check mark back to the plus icon. But when I returned to the overview page, Catfish was still in My Stuff! I thought it was a bug and proceeded to add and remove the show again, but still it remained on My List.
As time went on, a few more shows I was done with began to make themselves at home in My Stuff. The same as Catfish, they would not leave no matter how many times I re-added and removed them from My Stuff.
Finally, a year after I first ran into this issue, I discovered its cause. Next to every episode there are two icons: a download symbol and 3 dots. Those 3 dots open a one-item menu where you can save that episode to My Stuff! Who knew?!?
What's more, when a single episode of a tv show is saved, the entire series gets listed under TV Shows in My Stuff. And, because the save icon is hidden in a menu, there's no simple way to see the episodes you've saved. I had to click through 7 seasons of Catfish episodes to find the one I'd accidentally somehow saved that was keeping the entire series in My Stuff.
There are two issues with the current interface that contributed to my problem. It wasn't just that the save episode action was hidden in a ridiculous single-item menu, it was also the fact that there's no indication in My Stuff that individual Episodes can even be saved.
Luckily there are some simple solutions to the problem. First, take the "My Episodes" icon out of the hidden menu. There's no reason to have a menu with only one action. It just adds effort for the users and makes discoverability nearly impossible.
Second, inlcude an "Episodes" tab in the My Stuff menu. If you can save TV Shows, Episodes, and Movies, there should be a menu item for each of those things! Plus, with a concise list of all the saved episodes, users can quickly find and watch the episode they saved, rather than having to browse through entire seasons to find that one episode they wanted to watch later.