Hulu announced a new player for its popular online video site this morning and Eugene Wei, their VP of Product walks through the new functionality in a detailed blog post about the new features in the Hulu player. If you take a few minutes to read it you’ll notice that most of the updates don’t feel “major,” or part of a “massive relaunch” as tech companies like to say when they version up on their platform. Instead they demonstrate an obsession with getting the details right. And this is where Hulu wins.
Because unlike other technology companies that ship big platform updates with lots of ballyhoo but often with “we’ll get that in the next release” rough edges, Hulu focuses on how to make the user experience the best it can be – by starting with the details. Proving in product, it really is the little things that make a difference.
Look at some of the changes they’ve made – half of them you can’t even see, the others you’ll barely notice individually; but when you put them all together you see that Hulu is one step further out ahead of everyone else in video in delivering the world’s best online video experience.
- Color and background color of captions on videos
- Ad audio level normalization
- Variable bit-rate streaming
- 25% increase in player size
- Removing player controls from the viewing area
If you’ve worked in product or with product management the level detail in these is rare. I imagine in many technology companies these features would lose to the “edge case” argument and never get rolled in.
But when you start with the goal of creating the best online video viewing experience in the world and mean it, you see how all of these features are vital and not “edge cases” at all. So kudos to the Hulu team for sweating the small stuff, because where you win is in the details.