Disney Announces Major Redesign for Hulu

Disney is making a slew of streaming announcement to celebrate National Streaming Day.

One of the announcement catching everyone’s attention is the major redesign coming to Hulu.

The platform is starting to rollout its new interface today.

The company is moving towards a more standardized, even Netflix-like user interface featuring collections laid out vertically within the Home screen, while tiles within the collections are laid out horizontally, in scrollable rows.

Hulu will also simplify its top-level navigation, moving categories like “TV,” “Movies,” and “Sports” to the top of the screen, to make it easier for users to drill down into the type of content they watch.

To some extent, today’s changes are an acknowledgment on Hulu’s part that its interface had room for improvement. They’re also meant to make it easier for viewers who move between other Disney-owned services, like Disney+ or ESPN+, the company says.

“When we launched the current experience three years or so ago, it was a pretty radical change,” admits Jason Wong, Hulu’s Director of Product Management. “I think a standard has emerged as people have adopted streaming — it’s evident, and not just within the Disney family,” he continues. “We know that the majority of users have between three to five different services, and I think all of them employ this orientation on the living rooms devices.”

In addition, Hulu is turning its recommendation engine on the selection of the collections and tiles. Every module on the screen can be powered by either editorial curation or algorithms, or some combination of both.

At the top of the Home screen, collections like “Movies for You” or “TV for You” will appear for all users, but as you continue to scroll down, suggested collections will become more personalized to people’s unique interests. While Hulu isn’t being as explicit as Netflix with its “Because You Watched X” collections, it is powering its suggestions based on what content the user has been engaging with.

Hulu’s editors will also have the ability to rank certain titles first (or within a range), for those times when they want to better highlight a title — like a new release that serves as a tentpole to a genre.

The end result is a row of suggestions personalized and ranked based on your individual tastes, but one that also benefits from human curation.

According to Jim Denney, Hulu VP and Head of Product Management, the user interface redesign will not only help users to better navigate the streaming service, it will also improve discovery.

“One of the things [we wanted to improve on] is around density — giving people enough of a view into Hulu’s catalog. We’ve got one of the largest catalogs of any service available,” Denney explains. Plus, he noted, “When we look at our current [user interface], there are several ways to achieve the same thing. We want to close some of those gaps so it becomes more obvious which path to follow so users don’t get lost.”

The new Hulu interface will roll out this week, initially on tvOS and Roku first. In July, it will expand to other platforms and a larger group of users.

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