By Alex Perry
Hulu is trying to fix the worst thing about the service.
The majority-Disney-owned streaming app launched an overhaul of its user interface on Wednesday. It’ll roll out to some Roku and Apple TV users right away, with everyone else getting the update in the coming months. In the announcement blog post, Hulu specifically named Disney+ and ESPN+ as inspirations for the new look.
Hulu also shared a video of the new UI in action.
It’s still recognizably Hulu, but things are arranged in seemingly cleaner ways. Shows and movies Hulu recommends to you will be presented with larger photo cards that have all the relevant information inside of them, as opposed to tiny thumbnail photos like before. These collections are sorted vertically, with horizontal scrolling used to navigate each collection’s content.
Things you’ve already watched and might like to continue appear closer to the top, with smaller thumbnail images used for those, since you presumably already know what they look like. The navigation bar across the top of the screen has dropped unintuitive symbols in favor of words. Instead of hitting “Browse” to be taken to another menu offering choices between TV shows and movies, those two categories are built right into the home screen.
The stated goal of Hulu’s update is to let users get to their destinations with fewer clicks. We’re not sure if they’ve accomplished that goal just yet, but Hulu has at least correctly diagnosed the problem. Hulu’s UI has been a notorious weak point for an otherwise popular and well-regarded streaming service, requiring users to take one or two steps too many to get where they want to go.
If all goes well, it’ll be easier than ever to binge watch King of the Hill.