We’re thrilled to announce that our new big-screen interface is now available for Roku users in the Roku channel store, and it’s also now available as a beta for Apple TV!
The new UI represents months of hard work, extensive user testing, and ongoing conversation with our community. It’ll continue to be a focus of our efforts as we work to bring the new conventions to our other big-screen and mobile apps, but we’re super happy with the reception to date. Want to know more about how we got here? Read on, and we’ll give you the backstory…
The UI in our apps has been through a few major changes in its time. These have been driven by the shifting needs of the Plex ecosystem, which has become increasingly vast and feature-rich over the years.
If you’re old enough to remember Plex’s embryonic form OSXBMC, you’ll remember those were simpler times. You plugged a hard drive into your Mac Mini, your Mini into your only TV, stuck your media on that sucker, and played away. There was no server. Our phones still had keypads. These were dark days.
Fast forward a few years…
As a way of taming the growing number of sources, some of which lived in the cloud, we devised a UI navigation scheme that we referred to internally as “type-first”. That is, you pick the type of media you’re looking for (“I’d like to watch a movie”), then pick from a (smaller) number of sources that contain that type of media. In the end, it was well-intentioned and it solved a few things nicely for many folks, but it also introduced a great deal of friction for some. Based on all the feedback (both internal and external), we went back to the drawing board in search of a better approach.
Internally, we refer to the new effort as “UNO”, since bringing a unified, consistent experience to all platforms and devices is one of the core objectives. A few others include:
• Restoring some basic usability qualities that suffered a bit under “type-first”. Fewer clicks to get where you want to go. More discoverable actions and sources. More intuitive gestures and navigation. Fewer distractions with things you shouldn’t have to care about.
• Ownership and customization. You have complete control over your navigation—you tell Plex what you care about, we build an experience for you, and if you don’t like it, you can rearrange sources, hide sources, and more.
• Improved functionality in a multi-source world. Features like Search need to work perfectly to deliver exactly the results you want.
• At the core of the experience is the sidebar. In addition to being a better use of screen space than the top menu, it lets you see all the stuff you care about, and none of the stuff you don’t.
More info and many screenshots in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: Plex users, let us know what you think of the new UI after you’ve kicked the tires!
How to set up and run the easy-to-use media server Plex on a Mac – February 7, 2019
Why you need to get started with Plex – September 10, 2018
Plex grid view of live TV guide now available on Apple TV – July 13, 2018
Plex launches Live TV and DVR for Plex Pass subscribers, supports all over-the-air broadcast channels – June 1, 2017