A look behind the curtain: how Netflix redesigned and rebuilt its television experience

A lot of design and development insights in this Gigaom post by Janko Roettgers. Fascinating to see the Netflix team debate image weight so heavily:

However, the team ran into a significant issue when it began to build out the final UI for consumers in the third quarter of 2013, just months before it was scheduled to launch. It discovered that lower-end Blu-ray players and streaming boxes couldn’t handle WebP decoding on the fly, or at least not as smoothly as Netflix would like them to. That’s why the team decided to still serve JPEGs to cheap consumer electronics devices by default, but send WebP images to game consoles and other more powerful machines…

…The goal was to find that sweet spot where images look great but still load quickly, and transitions are smooth — something Netflix internally calls a “recipe” for image encoding. It was a time of constant fine-tuning, a time when even something as minuscule as a 150ms delay during an image transition warranted further tweaks. “You will feel that,” insisted McCarthy.

Chasing down page weight and experimenting with multiple platforms? There’s a lot in common here with web development workflows.