August 05, 2005 has just redesigned its product page. The changes appear within days "the king of usability" - Jakob Nielsen pronounced it "Lousy UI", "littered with extraneous features" in his popular Alertbox column.

The redesign was perhaps already underway when Nielsen's column appeared (Amazon changed the "Add to Cart" and "Buy with 1-click" button icon few weeks ago) but the latest change - that of doing away with the left bar seems inspired by Nielsen's write up. The space at left previously contained features such as, recently viewed items, 'listmania', 'So you'd like to...' guides and promotions of other Amazon sections unrelated with the product. Nielsen specifically mentioned this space and as always, used strong language to denounce the useless features.
Advertising on product pages. Amazon spends about two inches of each product page advertising other websites. Although this generates revenue, the average e-commerce site should be ashamed if it can't make far more money selling to a hot lead who's already investigating one of its own products.

Amazon has also redesigned product information area above the fold with a bigger product image, streamlined information and other changes. Compare screenshots of the product page from two months ago and the one reflecting the redesign as it stands now.


and now

Go to this page on and see the changes for yourself.

3 Comments so far      

Blogger Jace:

Nice, but it's still not very usable on a mobile interface, specifically, Opera on Series 60. It's better than before, but still vastly cluttered.

5 August 2005 at 11:09:00 GMT+5:30 link  
Blogger Manu Sharma:

True, still very cluttered. Too much product info, too many options to buy, too many recommendations...just too much of a hard sell. A push strategy. Perhaps like a salesman eager to make a sale, insecure to let the customer go without buying.

Each of these extraneous pieces of information and options might come handy for a small minority of users but it's way more than what most users would care for and therefore gets in the way of what they really want to do. It need not be revealed at first go, the few interested users will find it if it were to be hidden in a layer.

But then this is how Amazon has always been... an antithesis of Google. Amazon is more like Yahoo in that sense, designed for stickiness. Trying to do all it can to control the user experience.

I wonder how much Amazon would gain if it had Googlish interfaces. Now that doesn't mean a threadbare feature-less Amazon. It means a minimalist interface with only the most useful information on top and the rest a click away.

5 August 2005 at 13:08:00 GMT+5:30 link  
Blogger Manu Sharma:

Interestingly, the changes are still happening. I now see a "Seach Inside" icon on top of the book cover image on the product page, not seen in the screenshot I took last night.

Apart from providing more space to useful content, the other most useful part of this redesign for me is that the average review rating and number of reviews can now be seen right as the page loads. Apart from the product detail area, it now also appeares under the product title.

So many times the first thing you want to see is "how many stars has it got" and from how many reviews. Previously you had to frantically search for this info admist all the clutter. It's now made easier. This is another thing that Nielsen mentioned in his column.

5 August 2005 at 13:32:00 GMT+5:30 link  

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