Redesigning IMDB

Thinking Database Design 

Gilles Bertaux
Mar 10, 2014 · 5 min read

For the ones who are not aware of this amazing website, IMDB literally means Internet Movies Database. IMDB is “the world’s most popular and authoritative source for movie, TV and celebrity content” and by “popular”, we mean it: the website brings over 160 million visitors per month.

IMDB visitors are mainly:

  • Movies and TV shows enthusiasts.
  • Passionates, hard-core movie lovers.
  • People who just need an info for their casual consumption.
  • People with interests in show-business.

Our Reflexion and Motivation for This IMDB Redesign

When we first decided to do this redesign my teammate and I, we wanted to do something meaningful and not just good-looking. This is why we spent so much time on reflexion.

“Internet Movie Database” is a cool name, it is a great mark of authority, but what really is a database? What does it says about the website? Basically, from this point of view, IMDB is supposed to be a resource to exploit in its integrality.

It means that every single datum has its importance.

The problem is that the larger the database the more chances we have to lose, or forget some of that precious data. And, well, this is a bit of a problem when it comes to movies isn’t it? A movie is a piece of art, and we cannot afford to lose it.

Then, what is the interest of a database supposed to save things if, in the end, it swallows them up when it could be a great way to rediscover them?

Another problem is that nowadays, when I come to IMDB, I search for trailers, reviews, Tops, news of all kind, actors, directors, etc. It is really focused in media consumption rather than passionate consulting.

Tomorrow, we want the user to go to to find a movie suggestion, to admire collections as he was in an archive room, to be guided.

Therefore, our objectives for this redesign were:

  1. Valorize every work and prevent the database from becoming a mess by helping the users to rediscover great movies or TV Shows.
  2. Create a website focused on passion rather than medias. Bring IMDB back to its roots.
  3. Transpose authority and legitimacy.

The IMDB Home Page

The main function of the home page is to deliver and valorize the latest information about what is happening in the show-business. This is why we wanted to put the right informations in the right place.

The main purpose of going to a site like IMDB is to watch the latest trailers or get a quick review about the newest movies. So basically, what we did is that we tried to bring all those information above the fold line on the homepage so that we don’t lose any time searching for it.

We structured the page this way by order of importance: big interactive player for the trailers, then a calendar for the latest shows on air, the latest top 10 and news.

Also we valorized more the “list feature” already on the actual website in order to bring more interactions and more discovery.

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IMDB Home Page — Redesign Concept

The IMDB Search Feature

When we designed the search feature for this IMDB redesign we looked for great practices for a very long time. We really wanted something that returned results instantaneously (that could be useful for a database) in the most clear way, and, of course something intuitive.

So after some researches, we thought that the MySpace Search feature was really adequate. If it works for music, It could work for movies.

We wanted the search page to display in overlay on the page and that, every time we start typing something, the live search bar would return on-the-go results clustered in groups.

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The IMDB Search Feature — IMDB Redesign Concept

The IMDB Discover Feature

When we thought of this feature, what we had in mind was pretty much what Spotify does. We wanted to have the very same thing for the most importance movie website.

It had to be simple, attractive, and it had to give every valuable information and interactions in a minimum of time.

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IMDB Discover Feature — Redesign Concept

The IMDB Detailed Sheet

This page was maybe the most challenging: it provides a lot of information of very different kinds and we could not cut off some of them.

So, what we did is that we clustered those information. We created 6 information clusters :

  • Technical specs.
  • Reviews, recommandations, everything that helps me choose.
  • Related News
  • Medias

Then it was just prioritization: What do I must know first about a movie before I scroll or move on to the next one? We brought everything that we have thought of above the fold line.

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IMDB Detailled Sheet — Redesign Concept


We really enjoyed doing this redesign, we learned a lot about design and movies of course, but, most of all, we learned to work as a team and confront ideas.

And even if it is not a real project, we really encourage people to have the same approach because it is a really great way to improve and actually work on cool projects.

You’ll find the Behance presentation here. Thank you for sharing !

Our personal links :

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