Musings from Mike Atkinson on Internet strategy, usability, and more...

Amazonian evolution

If you go to Amazon periodically, you’ve been noticing the changes in their interface. Some I’ve really liked, others I haven’t.

In Jakob Nielsen’s latest column, he warns us not to – as SO many have (including me!) – see Amazon as the perfect ecommerce solution to model after.

From “Amazon: No Longer the Role Model for E-Commerce Design”:

On balance, Amazon is still the world’s best e-commerce site. Many of its strengths, however, are unique to its status and would not carry over to sites that emulate its design.

I remember at YS when we were redesigning our store, we copied much of the basic construction of their product info section. It worked well then and it still works well.

I’ve heard that no other company spends more money on usability R&D than Amazon. So I think it’s safe to piggyback on some of their improvements. But you have to be brutal in evaluating their relevance for your own site and audience. (Nielsen’s list of good and bad at Amazon is excellent.)

Also, have you noticed how little Amazon has changed in 10 years? So many of their changes have been incremental. I remember a few years ago when they went to the tabs at the top. Their recent changes have been pretty radical – maybe the most radical. So much for the annual or biannual redesign, eh?

And here’s a good, related article on the future of Amazon: Amazon faces the challenges of its second decade


  1. I agree, I recently read through that article as well – and have been researching and its features for the past few weeks. I am working on a re-build for a Christian Book Publisher as we speak, and we are looking to piggyback on some of the IDEAS as well, but implementing them to meet OUR needs specifically. Its about finding a good balance.

    I love Jakob Nielsen, but I also think that he leans too far in some instances – again, I think there needs to be a good balance of usability and aesthetics.

    Good Post!
    Nate    Monday, August 22, 2005    #
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