Netflix vs. Hotstar – Offline alert

I happened to get similar alerts (why alerts for this!) by both Netflix and Hotstar when I was offline. The obvious differences in the way both the apps were trying to convey something so small but critical really stood out to me. Here’s a side-by-side screenshot (Netflix to the left, Hotstar on the right):


Here’s a rundown of my thoughts.

  1. Title of the alert: ‘Network Error’ immediately tells me what the problem is, whereas ‘Sorry!’ is pointless and frankly, leaves the user annoyed.
  2. Message:
    1. What’s wrong? Netflix has a clear description of the problem – ‘There is a problem connecting to Netflix’. Hotstar, on the other hand, goes with something vague – ‘Looks like something went wrong.’ Although they do go on to indicate that there’s a problem with my connectivity, it’s too late and too verbose.
    2. What should I do next? I’ll hand this one to Hotstar. Although their message is a bit more verbose, they tell the user what his next step should be. “Please check your network and retry.” Netflix, on the other hand, goes with a vague “Please try again later.” (what’s later? what will change later?)
    3. What’s with the code? The D99 that Hotstar adds could be for troubleshooting purposes for their support staff, but it just ends up making the message too technical and makes the user panic.
  3. The Actions: Netflix provides two clear, actionable CTAs to the user – ‘Retry’ and ‘Cancel’ but it doesn’t tie back to what they suggested in their message. If they want users to try again ‘later’, giving a Retry CTA doesn’t really allow that, as the user will keep tapping on Retry until it works. On the other hand, Hotstar’s ‘Ok’ has the same problem because the user might check their connectivity but then how do they retry, as suggested in the message?

It’s easy to point out flaws, but how would I have done it, if it had to be an alert? Here’s my shot at it:

Title: No Internet
Message: Netflix/Hotstar couldn’t connect to the internet. Please check your network and try again.
CTA: Cancel, Try Again


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