Product Designer
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Netflix (Afterglow)

Product Designer • Nov 2017 (3 weeks) • Worked with Kettle



After people finish binging a popular series on Netflix, there is a decrease in overall streaming. Netflix hired Kettle to create unique email designs that would target users in a post-binge slump and inspire them to stream new shows.  

The goal was to deliver high-fidelity wireframes for concepts that were fun, sophisticated, and scalable. The emails would be sent out to users after they finished a binge and needed to contain at least 6 Netflix recommendations. 

My Role: Lead UX, Visual Design
Team: April Ryde (Visual Designer), Ian Grody (Copywriter), Jessica Jacobs (Copywriter), Eric Arcidiacono (Strategy)


Project Scope

Netflix provided a creative brief with a set of Netflix original and licensed shows to choose from. We had 3 weeks to explore, iterate and refine ideas. Each concept needed to scale and span across different genres of shows in the Netflix library, and would ultimately be generated by a computer algorithm.

Timing & Deliverables
Week 1:  Create 8-10 concepts + rough wireframes
Week 2:  Iterate & refine 3 email concepts
Week 3:  Add art direction and polish to designs

I lead wireframe design and worked on Visual Design for three concepts and a total of 27 wireframes-- each concept was built out for three shows (Stranger Things, Mindhunter and Friends) and three varying levels of art direction.    


My Process

Increase understanding with research
To design something that would ultimately play on Netflix users' emotions, I conducted user research to better understand motivations and binge-watching behavior. I also learned more about Netflix (i.e., goals, marketing strategy etc.) to get a better sense of the company and how they made money. 

Creating a framework
I drew insights about user motivations, binge watching behavior, demographics and more and compiled my findings into a document that I shared with the team. This research fed into strategy and informed our creative approach.

Three email concepts
The finding that people binge watch for three recurring reasons (Source) inspired our three email concepts: 

  • Reason 1: To escape
    Concept 1: Stay in it - Emails that help users stay in the escape by using elements from the shows they just watched (i.e., genre, characters) to take them deeper into related content.

  • Reason 2: To expand horizons
    Concept 2: What's Next - Emails that help users find their way to the next binge by highlighting rich relationships between them and other users (e.g., people who watched this also liked.)

  • Reason 3: For social currency (because everyone is talking about it)
    Concept 3: Be Part of Something Bigger - Emails that feed users' need to be a part of something bigger by broadening their horizons with a wider (rather than deeper) set of recommendations.


Initial Wireframes 

For the first round, we created nine email designs -- three designs for each concept-- that brought to life various ways we could inspire users to find their next binge. 

Since Netflix recommendations are based off of interests and not age or gender (Source), we focused on triggering moments of truth by referencing characters from the just binged show, emotional scenes etc.  

Group chat was an email designed under Concept 1: Stay in it. The idea was to use characters, from a show a user just binged, to deliver recommendations via a group chat. The texts would be in the characters' voice-- we worked closely with Copy to ensure messaging was strategically and creatively on target. Even though Netflix loved this idea, we ended up dropping it because the design didn't scale as easily as some of the others.


Wireframes for Group chat 


Refining Designs

Netflix was really impressed with round one wires and we easily honed in on three email designs that were strongest in terms of short term scalability to push forward in the next round.

2 levels of effort
For the final designs, we created two versions of each email. The first approach with ✎ ‎✎ used art direction and required a minor amount of manual effort, while the second approach with ‎✎ used no art direction and could be generated via an algorithm. 

We wanted to push the client to think about how a more manual, editorial concept could work with hands-on assistance from Kettle, lining up the possibility of future work 🤑


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We brought the same three shows to life (Stranger Things, Mindhunter, and Friends) for each concept to justify scalability. 


"Geek out" Concept

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End Result 

Netflix was thrilled with the final designs! They were "blown away" by the UX, copywriting and positivity of the team. Next steps included extending the project with AB testing and push notifications. 

If you're interested in working together, say hi