Amazon.com is known to have a great internal multi-variate test environment, allowing it to selectively roll-out and measure the effect of new features and designs. Tonight, I got some quality time with their latest home page redesign (that, or it’s gone live for everyone and they haven’t bothered to announce it).
The first thing that caught my eye was both the absence of (an abundance of) Tabs and the amount of space allocated to Search. It seems clear that the behavioral training web users are getting at Yahoo, MSN and Google has encouraged the promotion of site search across the web, i.e., this isn’t new or unique to Amazon. What is a bit unique is how much the search boxes seem to pop due to placement and color. Or, maybe it’s just me…
Oddly, “Search Amazon.com” is a drop down, with “Web Search” being the other option… it seems redundant with the A9 box, but perhaps that’s just my assumption and Amazon is looking to prove it via usage measurement.
Moving from search to tabs… I had specifically gone to Amazon to check out the $49 RAZR deal I heard about over at TechBargains, and boy was I confused when the Electronics tab was missing. I went to click the “All 31 categories…” tab, but as soon as I rolled over it, up popped a full product category list:
Well that’s cool, I suppose. Only one problem; the presentation order. Yahoo used to do this nonsense on their home page; organizing services by categories like “community” and the like. With the latest design, they’ve had the good sense to list their products and services alphabetically. I’d recommend the same to Amazon for their product categories listed in this pop-up; I agree with them tossing their services/tools beneath the dividing line.
Beyond all that, the only other oddity is tossing the logo in a tab to get ‘home’. Not a big deal there (they’ve already trained me to click tabs over the years), but it’s “nonstandard”, which could lead to some confusion.
For a great walk-through of Amazon designs past and present, check out Luke Wroblewski’s excellent write-up from a month or so ago.
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Tony, I think this is just a good and logical progression of the UI.
The timing’s kind of fun… we’re doing the same thing with some nav features of an energy exploration portal we’re working on. I’m hoping for a big upside with this approach (provided the version of browsers/platforms isn’t prohibitive).