amazon spotting

Well, they are at it again. This is a neat little tool– let’s you flip back a couple […]


Well, they are at it again. This is a neat little tool– let’s you flip back a couple products seamlessly. So I play with it, and many questions leap to mind.

Is this the right location? I found it, so maybe… but it is in a location that is about leavin your current task, shopping, and doing a differt sort of task– going more global– to checking an order, or checking out… why don’t more people do task analysis on the interface? it works wonderfully for understanding what folks are paying attention to when. The location also requires the product images to be so small as to to be utterly unrecognizable.


This flavor of dropdown is surprising. At least they don’t make it look like a traditional dropdown. Still, it’s odd to see a list of items ended with a little “see also” unit.

The question is my usual one– when a designer wildly flouts conventions, then what? I can’t condemn it out of hand because I haven’t seen it in the usability lab. Conventions are fine, but one never knows when breaking the rules will allow one to leap past the competition. Could this be such a leap?

And yet my experience watching hundreds of users interact with websites makes me guess that it won’t work very well. On the other hand, Amazon is known to test everything– though I’ve heard its A/B testing. They put out a design to a percentage of their users. And they watch clicks. Is it getting clicks?

But what do those clicks tell Amazon? That users like/understand/value the property? Or that the colors drew their eyes however breifly?

Quantititative for what, qualitative for why.. you don’t want half the story…

I’ll be interested in what this new widget does in the next few weeks. Will it change, grow, or disappear like amazon’s earlier stacked tabs?


It doesn’t take usability testing to tell me this is bad. Having looked at products, I go to “my account. And look what happens to my history.


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    they must be doing some sort of trial, because this bar doesn’t show up in my view (see separately sent GIF). So maybe they’re betaing it?

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    The new amazon widget

    Christina Wodtke at elegantHack takes a look at this Amazon Widget, which has a clumsy interaction design. Seems Amazon is still testing it. I don’t know how expensive (or inexpensive) it is to actually test designs on a live site. Macromedia did it so…

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    when in doubt, try a yahoo shortcut! typing “define flouts” in the query box, I see “flout: TRANSITIVE VERB: To show contempt for; scorn: flout a law; behavior that flouted convention. See Usage Note at flaunt.
    OTHER FORMS: flouter, floutingly, flouted, flouting, flouts ”

    While flaunt “flaunt: TRANSITIVE VERB: 1. To exhibit ostentatiously or shamelessly: flaunts his knowledge.
    OTHER FORMS: flaunter, flauntingly, flaunted, flaunting, flaunts ” so amazon flaunts their flouting.

    In anycase, I have a rambunctious spellchecker that I don’t always watch as carefully as I should. Considering how poorly I spell, I sometimes just trust it and it replaces right words wrongly spelled with wrong words rightly spelled. “with”, for example, I often spell “wiht” which becomes “whit”…

    plus I like using the Yahoo! shortcuts which I think are just nifty.

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    Design Media


    The best method to get feedback about an application is not conducting focus groups, but testing the new feature live on web for a small number of users, if possible.

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