‘Watch Your Favorites. Free. Anytime’ – thats the tagline for the brand new so-called ‘YouTube Killer’ website, Hulu.com. Here you can watch full TV episodes for popular shows like The Simpsons and The Office, and classics like Miami Vice, and watch full movies like the Big Lebowski, and is causing quite the stir – but how does it actually live up to its tagline and rate as a website? Seemed like a perfect choice for the second in my series of ‘Website Review & Rate’. So lets get started….
Look and Feel – 6/10
The good: I think they are going for the simple look and feel, almost matching the style of YouTube. The site has very few images or icons other than thumbnails for the TV shows and movies found on the website, and helps to keep things crisp and clean. The homepage looks good, and the slideshow reminds me a lot of Apple.com’s home page, which is a good thing.
The bad: Other than the homepage, the website browse pages look very ‘list’ and boring like, and needs some more ‘style’. Just having the thumbnail with a plain text description could easily be improved by adding stars for the user rating, and even icons for ‘most popular’ or ‘newly added’. Some more color should be introduced too – its very monochromatic. How about introducing some more of the green theme to match the logo? That would help spruce things up.
Intuitiveness and Usability – 7.5/10
The good: When you first arrive at the website, I think its fairly obvious what this website offers – TV shows and movies. And it makes it fairly easy to find what you are looking for – there is a prominent search option, complete with great predictive auto-complete, and a variety of ways to navigate to what you are looking for, including browse by alphabetical order, by most popular. and collections.
The bad: So. Great, you can watch movies and tv shows here. But there seems to be some kind of community lurking in the background, because there are ratings and reviews for the movies and shows. But its not immediately obvious you can join up, and what the benefits are for joining up. When you hit ‘sign up’ link, which is a tiny little text word found in the top right, it doesn’t even tell you the benefits of signing up. Strange. And then when you ‘sign up’ you can ‘queue’ things and start ‘subscriptions’. Yet there is no obvious explanation, of what these are or incentive to make you want to do so. Pretty bad.
Sticky/ Web 2.0 Content – 7/10
The good: Offering full TV shows and movies, and continuing to add more surely couldn’t be more sticky in terms of website content. So instant points for that.
The bad: They are missing out on even more opportunities to provide sticky/web 2.0 content. They could really make much more out of their ‘community’ (they barely put any focus on it) – there seems to be no ‘friends’ or personalization of the page you get when you join. And polls would be good. There are also no further details about the shows and movies on this website, just a one line intro. What about links to other content relating to it? And call me crazy, instead of just stating you can buy them (talk about stating the obvious), why not offer links to actually BUY the movies and TV shows shown on there? Seems strange that the money grabbing networks like NBC and Fox didn’t think of this…
Overall Rating - 6/10
Two words. Wasted opportunity. Seems like the networks have just come together and put a bunch of their shows and movies online, to try and spite YouTube and make some money on advertising before and during the shows (at least its not as often as regular commercials). I think they have wasted/ignored a huge opportunity to build this into a community, and lacks features to make you want to come back, other than new shows and movies being added. I don’t really think YouTube should be too concerned! Still, at least its another way of watching TV on demand when you don’t have access to a TV with a DVD or Tivo player…
Analytics/Testing Ideas (non-geeks can avoid this section!)
Very interesting. I have done two reviews on two majors websites now, and they both have Google Analytics as their analytics tool! I guess analytics is also an afterthought for them, much like everything else on the website seems to be! Ideas for testing? I would test using some better calls to actions regarding ‘joining up’ and what the benefits are. I would also put a more prominent call to action on the home page, like a search box just under the slideshow area, that mentions ‘search for and watch your favorite TV shows and movies’. I would also test moving the ‘recently added shows’ section to a more prominent spot, away from the bottom right, as this is important for repeat visitors to see when first returning.
>>>> Well thats it for the second in the series. Hopefully you liked it. Feel free to make comments for improvements and ideas for what websites you would like to see me review in the future. Thanks!