The New Netflix

(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at: lawrence@krubner.com

Netflix upgrades its website.

I have my doubts about the heavy use of Javascript that’s become normal over the last 5 years.

I got my current MacBook Pro in 2011 and for awhile it seemed like a fast computer. Nowadays, however, if I launch Chrome, and I have 6 or 7 pages open, the computer is under stress. If I open the terminal and run “top” I see that the load varies between 1 and 3. It never goes below 1. It is always struggling to keep up.

I’ve been minimalist about installing clever little utilities, and I’m still running the old OS X 10.7.5, so the main culprit here is the web brower. It does not matter much if I run Chrome or FireFox or Safari, modern sites do seem to keep them all busy, and to burn a ton of my CPU cycles.

Folks like Jakob Nielsen used to do usability studies regarding speed of the page and how that impacts user experience. The advice, for a long time, was to be careful about the overuse of Javascript. That advice has faded away over the last 5 or 6 or 7 years, as the industry shifted in new directions, in particular in the desire to emulate desktop software. And yet, it must still be true that a slow site is a poor user experience.

I’m a professional programmer, and most people get by with computers that are slower than mine. Every time I have to wait 40 seconds for Chrome to render a page, I feel a desire to go for a long walk. I assume when others complain about computers being a terrible experience they are, in part, thinking of experiences like this.

Netflix video is bound to be a bandwidth hog, but I wonder if the rest of their site needs to be Javascript driven?

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