My biggest complaint about Disney Plus for a long time was that it didn’t seem to understand how people (read: me) wanted to watch movies. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is a perfect example.
When Disney Plus launched, the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies weren’t exactly organized. There were rows for featured titles, movies, and TV shows, but it was all a bit scattered together. Most of the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies you wanted were here – you just had to spend a minute finding them. Now, however, it looks like Disney has changed a bit around the Marvel section to make it, well, make sense.
In the screenshot below (taken from a Disney Plus US account), the Marvel movies are separated into their specific stages, and then there̵
There is another row for Marvel Legacy movies (which are your X-Men and Fantastic Four franchises that are not part of Disney’s MCU) and files for legacy animated programs like Spiderman, Iron man, is The Incredible Hulk. Organization! A layout that makes sense. It’s unclear how new this design change is, but the folks at the Disney Plus subreddit are celebrating it now. The Verge reached out to Disney to see how new the design change was, but received no response when the story went live.
Streaming services, as a blend of technology and entertainment, must both create good experiences for subscribers. This means not only bringing as much content to a platform as possible and ensuring that platform works, but also understanding how people are likely to look at what’s there. Disney Plus works well and there are loads of movies and TV shows, but it always seemed like Disney never understood how people could navigate their dedicated hubs. For example, there are not yet individual lines for each Star Wars trilogy – although this could be a problem with Disney Plus lines apparently needing at least four titles per line.
From a totally anecdotal place, I am a person who constantly watches Marvel movies. Since the entire quarantine situation began, I have reviewed the entire MCU three times. Not once, not twice, but three times. (Feel free to fool me, I get it.) Having everything organized perfectly by stages or by chronological order makes those marathons easier. However, it also makes it easier to revisit some stages. Want to check out the MCU when it really gets cosmic? This is stage 3! You can skip all the other movies and dive in Doctor Strange, Thor: Ragnarok, is Captain Marvel.
Look, I spend too much time, frankly, thinking about how to better design streaming platforms. Netflix has introduced a shuffle button (although it still has a few flaws: let me randomly play episodes of a specific show, not just random movies and TV shows you have on your service, Netflix!) And is testing a feature that will allow to marathon people it shows without interruption. I’m still waiting for Netflix to give me a way to create GIFs while streaming to my laptop. Hulu has implemented a simpler interface on some devices which makes it much more user-friendly. Hopefully, Amazon Prime Video, one of the worst streaming service user interfaces I’ve ever used, will also change … and soon.
The key to success in the streaming world is maintaining attention. Part of that puzzle is content and part of it is a service that doesn’t stop every five minutes, but part of it is understanding. because people are using your platform and how. And after nearly a year of existence, it seems like Disney has finally figured out how we want to watch Marvel movies.