Netflix: Always Thinking About Their Customers – Even When They Can’t Help

As both a loyal Netflix customer and a Macintosh user, I've always been disappointed that I can't take advantage of Netflix's Watch Instantly feature on my computer. The feature isn't currently supported for the Mac, and for months, I've been asking myself why Netflix has chosen to ignore the needs of a large subset of their audience. Thanks to Netflix, I now know the answer.

When Mac users visit the Watch Instantly page, they can read clear and concise copy that explains why Netflix can't help them watch videos on their computer. They state:

"Our apologies — instant watching is currently not supported for Macintosh.

Our goal is for Netflix members to enjoy movies and TV shows on whatever screen they want. We're required to use Digital Rights Management to protect movies watched instantly online, and right now we only have approval for this protection on Windows Operating systems, not the Mac. Apple does not license their DRM solution to third parties, which has made this more difficult, but we are working with the studios and content owners to gain approval for other solutions."

In addition to the detailed explanation, the page also offers several alternative suggestions for Mac users, so they can try and take advantage of the feature. In my research, when users can't accomplish a task, they still want to understand why they can't do what they want.

In the case of Netflix, one page of online copy effectively helps customers understand that Netflix was considering them — even if they couldn't help them. While Mac users are still inconvenienced, the designers have demonstrated they're thinking about their audience.