If there is one thing that drives my opinion on applications, it is user experience. It always feels like a lot of the problems like minor annoyances to the consumer can be easily fixed with a little tweaking. Yet, a lot of streaming platforms don’t seem to notice or care to fix those little annoyances. That is one thing I will always say positively about Netflix, their user experience and how it is ever evolving in the right direction. Most of my Shudder opinion is going to focus on user experience for these reasons. Aside from being horror focused, which I am appreciative of, it is at the end of the day another streaming platform. With so many options for streaming platforms out their user experience is what I typically use to determine what platforms I will be subscribed to and which ones won’t make it past the free trial period.
To start, Shudder is a streaming platform dedicated to horror content. It has recently been revamped and creates platform specific content as well as streaming horror content in general. Now that alone is a tick in the box of reasons to stay subscribed, that there is a possibility for horror content that is new but unavailable on other platforms. However, I haven’t had the chance to watch anything other than V/H/S 94 (which is a good watch) so it is still open for debate whether that platform specific horror content is worth the watch. So far, I have only been able to access Shudder on the internet, Apple phone/tablet, and Samsung Smart TV. It isn’t available through Xfinity boxes or PlayStation. I don’t have access to other modes so if or if not they are available is a non-issue to me. In the accessibility area that isn’t bad, could be better but could also be worse.
Now to using the app, which is where my minor grievances come in. The search function leaves room for improvement. I specifically went onto Shudder to watch V/H/S 94, the newest installment of a series I am a fan of. Unfortunately, finding the movie became more difficult than anticipated. It wasn’t featured on the homepage for me, which I found weird since I assumed it would be something used to draw people into using Shudder. When I tried to find it through search not only is there not predictive text, but I also couldn’t find the movie using “VHS” or “V/H/S” or even just “V”. It’s truly bizarre that search terms that should pull up at least an associated movie pulled up zero search results. Not everyone can have an algorithm like Netflix where even movies they don’t have are predicted and similar ones recommended, but I don’t think it’s too much to ask that at the very least the first letter of the title pulls up the movie as a result. Eventually, I found the movie in the new section after scrolling through a few rows of titles.
Now for the biggest gripe I could find, subtitles/closed captioning isn’t working for me. I personally am not hard of hearing, but I prefer the subtitles always being on. However, there are a lot of people who genuinely need closed captioning to be able to watch media and not having that function working is just not something a big platform should be doing. The world is already not accessible enough for people who are differently abled, the least we can do all that’s in our power to limit that inaccessibility and closed captioning is the bare minimum. Even TikTok has closed captioning functions.
All in all, I found the app to be usable (aside from the closed captioning malfunction which could just be an issue with my personal technology…hopefully) with a wide array of selections. To be clear though I am fully aware these are the most first world problems and at the end of the day it’s just an app, an app that I am thankful exists. Also, an app I highly recommend checking out for any fan of the horror genre.