Yahoo! Screen: Exactly What You’d Expect

I remember my first-ever website: I made pixel dolls and highly simplistic isometric scenes using MSPaint. It featured edits of my Habbo from then popular chat-site Habbo Hotel and pixelated versions of my dream self: a purple-haired girl with lavender contact lenses and cybergoth mesh tops. Hosted on Yahoo’s now-defunct Geocities service, that site  gave 11-year old me the perfect avenue to build my own little world.

In hindsight, Geocities was trash in comparison to my host of choices now (shoutout to Squarespace, you’re the real MVP.) But I loved it. By deductive logic then, I should love Yahoo! Screen (YS) too, right?

The verdict? It’s not the worst. But that UI design… yo, Marissa Mayer needs to let people work remotely again.

But let’s start from the top!

The Good:

Sportsball: YS will be live-streaming the first NFL game of the season this year. Now, as a native Duval County resident (904, DUUUUUUVVVAAAAAL), I am very down with this decision. It’ll be nice to legally live-stream my Jags getting their tails whupped on by the Bills, instead of trying to fight through the heavy buffering on Front Row Sports. Not having cable is a struggle, y’all.

Variety: I see you Yahoo, picking up original series for yourself. It seems the Netflix model worked so well that Amazon and Hulu aren’t the only ones copying it. Community is an obvious favorite here, while Other Space seems like it has the potential to appeal to lightweight geeks a la Big Bang Theory. I didn’t sit down to watch Sin City Saints, but the fact that YS even has a dramatic option is hopeful.

The Bad:

Tryhards: I peeped the gaming section because I have no self-control, and most of the videos are things that I could find on Youtube. I guess this is useful if you want an aggregate service for your basic needs like TV interviews and video game reviews. But I personally don’t think I could deal with YS’ hideous design for that long.

SO. MANY. OPTIONS. : Allow me to be real for a second. There are two reasons I don’t have cable, with the main one being that it’s hella expensive. The other reason is that I am one of the most indecisive people on this planet. Give me options, but not too many. Otherwise I’ll just give up and binge-watch Too Cute. It’s like YS is trying to be Youtube lite with some Netflix thrown in for good measure. And to be honest, all that excess variety stresses me out.

The Ugly:

THAT USER INTERFACE: YS is designed like an old-school Yahoo! site from the 1990s. And I don’t mean that in a good way. The whole interface is just incredibly clunky and off-putting: the dark color palette for browsing is unnecessary, and the little bar at the top doesn’t clip well with anything else on the page. And the actual pages for shows and videos? It’s like Hulu on steroids.

I imagine that some techbro in Warby Parker glasses thought that fitting EVERY PIECE OF RELEVANT INFO ABOUT THE SHOW and VIEWER ENGAGEMENT LINKS onto the same page as the video would be a good idea. The individual landing page for each show is fine enough, but do I need the option to see clips after I see an episode? Hulu out here got people thinking that it’s okay to clutter up video pages with a bunch of addons. It’s like “I noticed that you came here for this specific thing… but wait, there’s more!” It’s irritating to those of us who are so accustomed to the simple no-frills bliss of Netflix and sites like it

Love yourself, Yahoo! Screen. Don’t imitate others: be your own unique butterfly.

So in all, would I recommend Yahoo! Screen? Yeah. I will continue to rail against that hideous design and clunky interface, but the NFL exclusives and access to shows like Other Space are what do it for me. There’s something for everyone on this platform, and luckily for us it’s still completely free. In this case, getting what you pay for doesn’t mean getting the shortest end of the stick.

oawash_avi_2015alex is a nerd in that un-cute way, like the comic book guy in the simpsons. just don’t get her started on science fiction or nonfiction documentaries. otherwise, she enjoys things that require an acceptable amount of commitment such as web-series, role-playing games, and cats. @oawash_

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