New Netflix layout has mixed accessibility results

A few weeks ago Netflix adopted a new interface. This new interface appeals to the sighted users by providing easier to see thumbnails. In essence, it looks as though they want to unify the mobile view and the desktop view. How accessible is the new layout? Many different users report different things.

A Voiceover user running a Mac says that the new layout works really well. He says that it is easier to cycle through his list of curated titles and he also says that it is easier to hear what episode he is currently on for each show. He has found no unlabeled buttons as of yet. The new layout appears to have an infinite scroll feature but this is not the case. Netflix just has a lot of categories listed on the main page after logging on.

An NVDA user in Washington has reported to us that the site works so so with her Windows machine. She has described the so so part to be a slight frustration with the screen reader because it appears to get stuck on a graphic that’s an advertisement for a movie, TV show, or new Netflix original. When users finally make it past that, she says they will have no trouble at all with the new layout. She did say that pressing the space bar on elements such as links don’t work when you want to watch a movie or TV show. Sometimes the enter key doesn’t work either and you will have to access this show by searching for it and hitting the enter button on the summary page. She reports that it is beyond easy and smooth to read the show and episode descriptions before playing the show and dealing with that inaccessible player on windows. She has also said that now, the rating stars have been labeled, whereas before, they were not.

Authors note. My NVDA courser gets stuck on the advertisement as well but I don’t know how to navigate past it other than immediately jumping by headings before it can fully load. I can’t make any personal comments about what I’ve experienced using the new layout yet but I will do so on YouTube.

A JAWS user reports that, accessibility is not the issue. JAWS crashes when he loads the website, and even when he is trying to browse his own list of tiles. Another JAWS user says that there’s a lot of strings of code he hears when he moves around the Netflix website. Another JAWS user says that the layout is better for him, much better than the other layout. The latest version of JAWS works the best. Version 12 and below will face many issues.

A Window Eyes user in Chicago has reported that everything is read to him as he navigates the site, meaning no unlabeled images or anything but he does say that Window Eyes will stutter on Netflix more than any other site but we believe that’s a computer error, not an accessibility error. He can use all controls with the exception of the player. Window Eyes, based on his reporting, seems to be the screen reader that works best with the new layout.

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