DUX takes on the all-too-intimidating task of looking at Amazon in this episode, targeting features and experience on the site that we would make changes to so that the process of shopping and buying could be improved for users. Obviously an hour isn’t much time to talk about that, so we picked some of our favorites to use as examples of how you might save your own users some of the same frustration.
Catching up and burning out (4:00)
Improving Amazon (16:07)
- 25 Years of Amazon.com Website Design History
- Amazon’s User Experience: A Case Study
- Cargo cult programming
- How to delete Amazon account
- Reply All episode #124: The Magic Store
- Sometimes Amazon is not always the best design inspiration
- Zeigarnik Effect
The following is a machine-generated transcript of this episode. It will contain errors until it has been reviewed and edited, and we apologize for the difficulty that may cause for screen readers. Do you want to help us speed up our transcribing process? Consider sponsoring an episode.
Jared Polin. Fro knows photo dot c-No, that’s not right. That’s… that’s not who we are. Who are we? I’ve lost all semblance of who we are. What we’re doing here.
This is the existential UX podcast.
That’s not what we are.
No, close. Keep going.
Jean Paul Farts.
This is the Drunken UX Podcast. And I’m your host, Michael Fienen.
Other other host, not Michael, Also known as Aaron.
Hi, Aaron. You’ve been very helpful so far. I’m before this episode.
Thanks for being here for
Draw out a joke that was already not funny when I started it. Just wait. I got a few more of those stupid intros in my head for everybody. This is episode number 67. We’re gonna be talking about what we would do to improve amazon dot com. We’re gonna be looking at the website breaking some things down and just giving some advice based on where we sit. And if we were to build it or to come in and fix it, what we would do,
it’s not It’s not sponsored, but it would be so cool to be paid money to tell Amazon where they suck Yeah, that would be awesome.
Awake. I have been I I have on numerous occasions been on, uh, user testing panels for them, and they pay you for that?
I was on a Facebook user testing panel recently. Alarm summary. Facebook gave me $75 to tell them about rooms meet. Yeah,
Let’s see. Oh, yeah. This episode of the drunken UX podcast is brought to you by our friends over a new cloud, so check them out at new cloud dot Do slash. Go on. Go, go get an interactive map because you definitely need one. Get one for your house, Fun and interesting. And I bet you’re the one person on the block that does it. Erin, I would normally ask you what you’re drinking right about now. But instead, I think when I ask you what your eaten crash away on something. What cashews. Oh, cashews. A shoe. What? What goes well with that drink wise
because it’s summertime and I have a two gallon like plastic bridge rectangle thing with a little tap on the bottom. A cooler. It’s a cooler, but it’s not like the kind you put drinks into. Its the kind that holds liquid and then dispenses it. So I make like, I make ice tea, but like women juice, sugar in it center. It’s really good bye, Ari. Southern
Uh, but we are almost Southern New York. I think so. Uh, technically Southern, I have some bourbon mixed with ice. T
I I’m not white trash in it tonight, but it kind of is sometime drinking Berry propel like the water. The Gladewater with vodka. Disappointed. It’s kind of like a unq Arben ated white cloth. I guess
something like four Loko.
It’s just water in vodka and bury. It’s like, ah, flat wine cooler. I guess I don’t know it. So I’m definitely not fancy tonight by any stretch and and it just it was easy. So I was like, I I was thirsty and I’m fighting some allergies. And so I was like, I want to keep myself hydrated. I’ll just foursome Bodkin already drinking.
I I do. She’ll like that man,
the folks, If you want to get started with us tonight, I want you to head over to cult honeypot dot i o. This is an article from Ryan Lotta over there. I’m great. Ryan Lotte, Lotte, Lotte. Now this is an article from a few months ago. Actually, it came out in March. He’s gotten article called Catching Up and Burning Out, and I read through it and it really hit home. I think on that message that we talked about. We’ve hit on imposter syndrome more times than I can count at this point, and I think it’s incredibly important for us to talk about. I think it’s important for us to acknowledge and help people through, especially when they’re new. And so he wrote this article and actually before a dive into that. I want to get a shot up, just the honeypot dot io real fast. This is unrelated. When I went to read the article, you really have their cookie compliance pop up at the bottom of the page. And it is, I think, hands down the best curry compliance pop up I have seen to date. It’s short, it’s sweet, it’s non intrusive. They give you all your options inside the pop up for necessary preference statistics, marketing cookies, and you can use only the selected ones. Or you can tell me you’re OK with everything and they only have necessary cookies pre selected, they don’t tryto. The only thing that they try to do that’s the slightest bit tricky is the I’m okay with everything. Button is clearly more highlighted than the Onley used the selected button
TB affair, though, like every other site, who doesn’t give you those granular options? What’s the button in the same place and doesn’t give you any other choice? So let’s say I say Honey pot is like, not doing worse. This is
it was hands down. If you want an example of that, go go check. There is Alex Ideo. I just wanted the acknowledge good stuff when I see it. So Ryan’s article gets into this idea. And Erin, I love the fact. How long have you been at your new job? Um, three weeks for this is
no bit over a month now, as it about six weeks.
I’m so bad at time. Actually, that was in the car with a buddy of mine talking about his kids. And I was like, your kids about eight years old, right? You know, he’s 12. Oh, that’s how bad I am with time. So off by just a hair, you know, 50%. Whatever. Oh, my God. The reason why you came to mind for me on this is because the whole thing that’s catching up in burning Out is all about somebody starting a new job. Anybody starting a new job coming into a new code base and having to go through this process of on boarding, right, we all any time you started a new job in any kind of development, you have an on boarding process because you have to learn stuff. You have to learn the way that team works, and it can be very consuming, trying to get through all of that and trying to read constantly and figure out. And you know, when the right point is to drop off, the risk is you get so all consumed on trying to learn everything so that you can start that you start reading at night and you start worrying about whether or not you know the right things or the wrong things, whether or not you’re bringing your bad habits to their code and you can burn yourself out in that process with his advice. Being at some point, you have to just start coding. Yeah, spend a couple of minutes here, Erin, Because I know you guys have something that I think was really interesting. I thought you were just doing it is part of on boarding, but it turns out it’s actually just the way you guys work, which is with what they call a pair programming. Yes, it’s explain. Like how that helped your on boarding process of this new company and and how it helps work in general.
Yeah. So, uh, my team is If I had a ball park it, I would say we probably have both 40 people on the team. And there’s and that our our team at large is split into, like, two smaller teams of about 20 people each and on every single day, one of our, ah, one or team people will put out the schedule for that day repairing schedule, and it says which product streams you’re gonna be working on and who you’re pairing with. Sometimes I get paired with, like, more experience people on the team who have been on the product, you know, for years, um, this week I’m with a person who has been on the project on Lee. A little bit longer than I have maybe a couple months longer on this particular project. But I’m like more experience in terms of like, total experience, like my career experience, but both are very different kinds of experiences overall. But but it’s so good and the two things that I think it does really well at our ensuring that that you don’t get stuck in the weeds of trying to figure out what the hell you’re doing. Here’s been my experience of on boarding in places. One is that I have yet to see a team that prioritizes good documentation where you can actually study stuff younger. The younger the team is or, if you’re hired, is part of like a hiring blitz or something. Chances are the people who were there before you were too busy closing tickets and, like building stuff. You actually go back and document things. If you’re lucky enough to be on a team that actually prioritizes on boarding well and bonus if they also recognize that on boarding takes time, depending on the complexity of the product and the domain knowledge required, it can take the one company I was that it was they expected 3 to 6 months for on boarding. They’re like, we’re not expecting any kind of like so a productivity for my 3 to 6 months because there’s just so much stuff you have to wearing and able to encourage pairing. But it wasn’t a requirement. A Zafar is the imposter syndrome, goes Aiken. Speak very confidently that you can feel like you’re really solid and and like, really know what you’re doing and you go into a job. And without that domain knowledge of what it is that you’re working with or without the knowledge of their code base, you feel completely incompetent. My like my mojo, My coding mojo took a huge hit after the last two jobs because I felt afterwards I I felt completely like I feel like an idiot. I felt like I was, ah, doubting anything that I knew. Like maybe I don’t actually know how to do this every doing it for like, nearly 20 years. But, like, uh, maybe I haven’t learned anything at all. It’s definitely riel. And if you’re starting at a job and you feel like you feel like you’re doubting yourself like you’re not alone, hit me up
the thing about experience. Developers tend to fall into two camps. So if you’re a junior Dever a new Dev, Regardless you know it at a new organization and you’re looking at these other folks and you are feeling imposter syndrome. They are, too. That’s and that’s one thing this article hits on is that everybody goes through that. Yeah, you know, I constantly sit there questioning and am I learning the right new tools right now? And am I giving enough time to, you know, educating myself to stay up to date on some of these trends and features? But experience Dev’s fall into one of two camps come as far as, like, coping mechanisms. And this this is my opinion on it. But one is they know that they’re having trouble with something, and one thing and experience Death, I think is really good at is knowing when they have exhausted themselves and saying, You know what? Let’s get some other eyes on this. I’m not gonna waste three more hours hunting for a semi colon. If I pull a couple team members in, look at this code and have them help me find it real fast or you know, find a feature or something like that. We’re not afraid to ask for help, friend, that, you know, comes with a little bit of humility and acknowledging. Yet we don’t know everything We may have senior in our title, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t need help. And don’t Ah, I feel lost sometimes. And so whenever you hear on experienced F saying that senior death saying that, No, that that’s them having imposter syndrome basically. But they just have a coping mechanism for it.
If you’re a newer developer and you find that you don’t frequently or at least with any regularity say, I don’t know how to do that just you may think that you’re conveying like confidence and competence. But everybody knows you’re bullshitting because none of us know everything, especially nowadays. And if you don’t know something, you’re not doing anyone any favors by pretending that it’s not a problem.
Yeah, the other group is a group I call. They don’t have imposter syndrome. They have expert syndrome. These air the Dev’s that Curis. Yeah, they have no humility, and everything they do has to be right in their mind. And they can’t possibly be wrong. And if you’re doing it differently, you’re the one who’s wrong. And they don’t spend the time learning new tools. They don’t spend the time investigating new processes and looking for new solutions to things they feel like. They know everything that you need to know. And there’s a good chance that if you’re a new hire, you may be replacing one of those people. So, like, that’s not the good group to be in. If you’re a senior developer,
Okay, so so being a new person on a team is very challenging. I would be very hard, but you have a gift. The gift you have is the newbie Goggles every single time have been do on a team. I am very loud about everything that I find difficult because chances are you’re pointing out something that has become kind of like either cargo cult ID or they they just they’ve for gotten that like Oh yeah, like, why are we doing it this way? We should change that. That’s a good a good idea, or just pointing out like the holes in their documentation not to be shitty like I not not to be like ha Ha. Gotcha. So when you’re new to a team, those things become very big and pronounced. So use that opportunity to give a good feedback to your team in a polite and kind way.
You used a phrase their cargo cult, and that’s come up before on the show. But for those who haven’t heard it before, would you explain that to them? OK,
as I understand it, when they would drop off cargo drops to developing nations did wouldn’t know that they were getting cargo drops as like humanitarian aid. They would see, like this giant, you know, metal birds in the sky. And then all of a sudden, a giant create full food and first aid and other things suddenly appears near their village. And the idea is that you don’t ask why something is the way it is or like, why you’re doing it a certain way. You’re just doing it like it’s if you take copy past, copy pasta from stack overflow and dump it into your code base, and then it produces the desired effect. But you’re not actually questioning like, Well, why, why what all these lines for? And there might be a bunch of extra craft in there that you don’t need. I think there’s a Wikipedia article for it,
huh? Well, through a link to that in the in the show notes if you want to check out that article run by honeypot thought I o Obviously there will be a link in the show notes. I’m oddly enough cult about honeypot that I hope. Check that out. Ryan put some effort into it, and it’s ah, good article that I think will He’s a lot of people’s minds. So this episode we’re focusing on what we would do to improve amazon dot com. We’re gonna focus, explicit. I’m putting some rules on this because Amazon is a behemoth and we could spend much more than an hour talking about this. We are focusing on desktop customer experience. We’re out looking at AWS. We’re not looking at, you know, media services, Amazon video, Amazon
for the mobile app
in the mobile app. We’re not looking at Alexa. This is purely about, like the shopping kind of experience, right? We’re not gonna were gonna stay superficial to We’re not gonna go into any of the really deep user journeys. Are you X deep dive because I mean, some of
whom have an hour. Yeah, there we only
have an hour, and some of those do get really gnarly and entangled in their own ways. And so we’re gonna be talking about, like, day to day experience on the site. So run by the manifest dot com. They’ve gotten article there on Amazon’s user experience case study, and I was reading through that at one point, I pulled a chart out of that for this to get started. It goes back to some research from 2019. They asked Gen. Z Millennials, Gen X and baby boomers about sites that they view as having the best you X. And the one on this list is, I think, could qualify. Which one do you think it is, Aaron? Probably YouTube death. The site generally works well. I usually, you know the recommendation engine on it is good. The watch later feature is fantastic. The subscription stuff, despite the little subscription versus clicking the bell, that’s a little messy. But sure, all things being equal,
it’s very good at what it’s trying to do, which is to get your eyes going to it as long as possible.
I think it could be on the list. Jen’s ears, um said by a 24% margin that YouTube was the best they were. Gen Z was the only one that included YouTube, millennials, gen X and baby boomers. All included Facebook, which we’ve talked about Facebook and their upcoming redesign and all of the problems with it. So you can go back and check that out is up. So 50 something All four groups included Amazon, and I was thinking about this and because in my mind, especially Facebook and Amazon, I would not include in that list at all. In fact, I would argue that they have incredibly bad ux in many, many areas. And I think the reason why people think they are so good has to do with this I Garnick effect, which is one of the laws of you. X. That’s the one that says people remember uncompleted or interrupted tasks better than completed tasks. When are you complete with Facebook? Never, Never. Facebook is designed to keep you there, keep you engaged and keep you coming back. It’s not meant finished, and Amazon, unlike most other shopping experiences, which I tend to think of as being very transactional. Sure, Amazon, I think, is built in a similar way. They have designed a system that they want to keep you there and keep you coming back.
All right, I got hypothesis here. So baby boomers up through maybe millennials. We’re all around at a time when we would go to the mall like, you know, the mega mall shopping mall and you just walk around and look at stuff from window shop like window shopping was a thing that people did. You would drive to a place and look at stuff without actually any intention of buying anything that day. And Amazon kinda has that. Yeah, I think maybe that appeals some of the nostalgia for the older demographics, though it’s basically just like a showroom. I don’t know that that’s actually what’s going on here, but that’s the first thing I thought off.
I’m also talking about this because a lot of design theory, at least you know, when you go out and read articles and stuff, they fall back to this mentality of what would Amazon do? Amazon is big and successful and sells billions of dollars and stuff, so we should follow their lead because they’re correlating success with good design, and I think that’s a big mistake. I think Amazon can afford to do things that most people can. Fiona, Hardwood, over simply usability, has an article on this that gets into why you shouldn’t always be following Amazon for design inspiration. I call it the Hotel California Syndrome, like thinking about it from the idea of, like, hostile design. And we’re gonna bring a possible design a couple times in this, and believe me, Amazon uses a ton of it, but the Hotel California you can check out anytime you like, But you can never leave that literally early. Check out all the time, come right back and do it again like it’s all about the process of Yeah, you’re here once you’re part of our ecosystem and we, like, say, we will get into this hostile patterns that that key into this they really are trying to trap you there. And that’s not the site you want to design. That is not the sort of designer or you X person that you want to be. Trust me. I started my Amazon account in 2000 because that was when I was old enough to have my own credit card. It’s been out a long time, and if you want a really good overview of like the design history of Amazon version, Museum has a really fantastic article with a bunch of screenshots going all the way back 25 years and they’ve got a video as well. You can watch, just want some pure design history. That’s a good starting point. Nice. So to get started, the first thing I want to call out on the home page and I would suggest either I don’t know if I would get rid of it or just make it better, but I would start with getting rid of it and prove I needed it. Is the secondary mystery meat have? Oh yeah, yeah, So this is what you see right below the search bar and mine says Pantry. Customer service. Today’s deals find a gift. Prime video. Michael’s amazon dot com It’s
Michael. You know what this feels like? Remember when we worked in higher ed and the home page would be covered with crap that management and leadership thought the users needed to see Yeah, but was not ever what they actually wanted to see. That’s what this feels like.
My favorite part of this whole menu is that there’s there’s, like a dozen and 1/2 so items on it. Browsing history is plugged right into the middle, and it’s the only one with a drop down. Oh yeah, no other link in that menu has a drop down. Except that one. I mean, it literally feels random. We criticized Facebook on this for their in their redesign, and some of the sidebar nab that it was just a hodgepodge of links. And that’s all this is. Look at the far right of that navigation. What does yours say right underneath? CART
Mine says Explore D I Y and craft ideas. I’m never going to click on that,
mine said explored the Iowa and Craft ideas earlier. Now it says, watch Hannah. Season two. That might no. I have not watched Hannah Season one, so it would be weird of me to start at Season two, and they should know that I haven’t watched season one. That’s a completely random and like you say, Yeah, the D I Y and craft ideas. It will give me something useful there Don’t give me random random is like, I think one of the biggest problems Amazon has overall, I think, will be a consistent themes like the amount of random to your point, the window shopping aspect that they tried toe throw at you. So to that point, right, the home pages, this collection of panels right when you’re logged in. So the first few I feel okay about they’ve had a couple of pro moves. I’ve got one. This is upgrade to the Echo show. Eight. They’re pro mowing their stuff. I get it. But as you go down that page, I start to feel worse and worse and worse about what they’re doing right. I had a panel that said at an an illustration of this little kid in a superhero mask that said, Ryan’s World on Free Time Unlimited Subscribe now, Yeah, and all I could think of was, Well, a. I don’t know what Ryan’s world is. I don’t know what free Time Unlimited is. I don’t care. I don’t watch cartoons. I don’t have kids. They know I don’t have kids because I’ve never bought kids stuff. It looked like an ad. It linked to 1/3 party side. It linked to a server called Bs. Not serving dash sis dot com, even though I did click through it to see and it does stay on Amazon, but it’s clearly an ad. It’s not flagged that way. It’s not flagged, the sponsored or paid or anything that I have no idea why that was chosen as something that they thought I needed to see. Like It’s just again. Let’s throw some spaghetti against the wall and see what happens. I see.
I see a carousel related times you’ve recently viewed, but half of them are literally just different models of the same item that I viewed. And then this one is Get yourself a little something. And it was It’s a carousel showing, like six. And then more items from my wish lists. You
wish list. Yeah, What I’m like, Yeah, like that’s like, Okay, but those care cells that problem with, um they’ve got this left right scroll. Yeah, and they don’t use keyboard navigation at all. And if you’re tabbing through the page as an accessibility thing, once you’re inside of that, you have to tap through what? Two dozen different things to get through it, E. I mean, obviously, if you use a screen reader, you always jump to the next landmark too. But they have in between some of those cara cells, They have banner ads. And those banner ads a have text burned into them. Yeah, and they also have no ault attribute and no title attribute on. So put the van right in there, whatever. But at least if you’re gonna do it, do it right. You don’t have exams to not do that. The other big thing I would do on the home page, it really annoys me. Their brand footer is utterly useless. Brand footer at the very, very bottom. You see, where they’ve got, like, the 2030 companies they’ve bought and they have lied.
Oh, Uh huh. Wow,
Nobody uses that footer. I guarantee it. Nobody is that that is not a
high teacher. Never even knew that it existed.
Right, Because you never scroll all the way to the bottom of the page, especially age like this.
I can only guess that it’s there for, like, robots or something.
But at that point, what’s What’s the point? Yeah, The other thing. I didn’t mention it, and this is more of just an annoyance. And it’ll apply actually mawr to like the search area. But have you ever seen, like, if you’re about a toilet seat, let’s say,
um, no, but I do actually need to buy one. So what do you got?
So you go by a toilet seat by it from Amazon, come back to your home page and then see the section where they’re, like, pay. Do you need other things like this? And they showed 20 more toilet seats.
Yeah, that’s that joke. Right where it’s like way See that you just bought a toaster. Maybe being should these toasters
I do. You need to expand your toaster collection. Yeah, like they don’t have good visibility into, like, one off items, like right? There are things I will stockpile and things that I won’t stockpile in a toilet seat. A toaster.
I think that that kind of thing happens so often that I just ignore the recommendations in general.
Yeah, it really hurts the feature as a consequence. Yeah, Let’s go. Toe result pages. Okay, First and foremost, I want to acknowledge something. I’m not gonna go deep down this hole, but I want to at least say something about. And that’s the fact that third party marketplace sellers on Amazon are an incredibly serious damn problem. Amazon is breaking themselves the way they handle third party marketplace sellers. I’m not the only one who thinks that there’s a really good episode of I think it’s reply all that went into that Maybe, or maybe planet money. If I find, I’ll go back and look, it’s from a while back, but I’ll go back and try to find it.
Okay? All right, Hold on, Wait. Let’s give the context for that. So right, we also on this show talk Perhaps far too much about Steve Krug is don’t make me think. And that book uses Amazon as sort of like. This is a site that does good. Ux. Look how they did these things. Look, does this make sense? And so I noted her before the show that like, isn’t it ironic that we’re talking about Amazon in this way? Because they were touted as, like, great you x for so long? And I was like, When did it go bad? And then that’s when you said, with the market with
third party sellers came in. So give you context of that third party sales, and this is just I pulled it off their wiki third party sales on Amazon accounted for around 31% of Amazon’s annual sales in 2016 they added up, are they aided more than 10,000 sellers to generate a $1,000,000,000. The incredible ease of creating an Amazon account has led to a massive increase in third party sellers during the platform, with over a 1,000,000 sellers joining in the year 2017 alone. So they launched in 2016 with 10,000 by 2017. The next year. They were up to a 1,000,000 and I wouldn’t even want to speculate what that number is now. That’s a problem, that is they. I mean, they basically have more third party sellers now than they have products to the service of their own. It is a usability thing. It’s a business thing first and foremost, though, So I just wanted to say that, you know, and a lot of these problems I’m gonna get to do kind of have this third party mentality at their core. Yeah, so results pages. Amazon has always been very search driven,
right? Okay, look, I’m not saying that everybody is Amazon like I do. When I go to amazon dot com, I We’ll do one of these few things. I will type the name of the thing. I’m looking into the search bar. That’s probably my most frequent task, or I will click on the Where It’s Your Signed in its His account and lists. I’ll click on that. I will go to your wrists and I’ll click on the appropriate list. Where has the thing that I’m looking for? Or the other thing that I do? Almost as probably. It’s the third most frequent thing, but it’s less frequent attitude by quite a bit going to return than orders and looking at past orders to find the thing that I ordered before, I need to reorder. Yeah, I don’t use anything else on the site. It’s all noise to me.
But when you do a search, they have a sort of single category taxonomy approach so that, like if you’re trying to drill down, you’re forced to choose. If I’m gonna pick a category, I am only able to pick one, and this makes me question if I missing results because frequently they show you categories that are very similar. So case in point, I did a search. I typed in kitchen faucet. I got a search results page that was full of kitchen faucets. Yeah, I was given some category options. Two of those category options included the clearly distinct categories of kitchen faucet here. Kitchen sink faucet. I’m just waiting
for your search results. Recommendations start being like, Hey, you want somewhere kitchen faucets? There’s some other ones you might like. How about these ones? Just like bronze yet? Look, I know that it’s all like, built by a robot, but I just love imagining if the robot is like like I have all these great Fosse’s, I’m gonna just he can fill this house up fully with faucets. It’s gonna be awesome.
I think the core problem here is that they’re letting too much of this be generated based on keywords or something along those lines. So it makes me question the accuracy of the results. Like if I click on kitchen faucet, am I gonna miss out on, you know, options that are under kitchen sink faucet? I don’t know as a user.
Earlier, we talked about the ah, by generation like ranking and top to you. X YouTube is is like that, too. There’s there’s so much content that they can’t possibly, you know, curate it the way it should be. So they rely on, like bots, scripts and things. And the pots aren’t trained well enough like the AI just isn’t quite good enough to really give you good half the time. It’s like recommending things like No, Like I I see why recommending that to me. But no, why would I want that?
What I found interesting was that in discussing this, you and I found the same solution to that problem.
Alright, so I’ve got a Nintendo switch and if you know anyone who has one, they’ve probably complained about joy con drift. I found instructions and I got a kit to fix it myself. I went to go searching an Amazon for those, and I was like, you know, Joy con Replacement kit, and they showed me a list of categories and I was like, I don’t know which one this would be in because it’s not a video game, but it’s also not like you know, like electrical tooling. And so I had to go like one above all of those I forget what category was it might have been my electronic games or something like that, just in general. And then I found them. But
yeah. So going up the chain, basically, yeah, You go to the parent category, then drill back down. I hate that, though. That’s that’s a weird, like, work around for that problem. Yeah, So fixing that, I think, you know, let me either let me select multiple categories or start curating them better is what needs to have in there. I also want the ability to clear a keyword after I’ve searched. Yeah, that would be
Yeah. This to use that previous example. If you search for kitchen faucet, you’re given the option of having the category kitchen faucet. So if you click on that, you’re now now I’m questioning if my results are too specific because I’m looking for the keyword kitchen faucet inside the category kitchen faucet. Let me if I matching the category or close to it. They used to do this. You used to have a little X in the breadcrumb trail on the page. Yeah, we would have a little X at the very end next to the key word, and you could click it and it would just take the keyword away, leave you there. That’s gone. They took it away and I have no idea why. And the way you do it now is really non intuitive, which is you delete the key word from the search box and just hit Enter and do a blank in that category and it keeps you in the category. But that’s a super non intuitive.
Yeah, I’m not not a big fan of that.
It just again. It just makes you question the quality and accuracy of the results again. Worried? Am I leaving stuff out? Because they are not using the one key word that I threw in there that maybe is questionable. I want to filter. They have filters, Aiken. I can filter by rating. I can filter by Amazon prime shipping.
Newegg is really good with that
new eggs. Yeah, great. With this new egg is actually good at a lot of this stuff. In particular
new eggs. You I reminds me a lot of Amazon when they were good right.
The one filter I want is let me filter by items with coupons. It’s not something you come across free clicking it.
You get coupons on the Amazon.
Yeah, yeah, if you’re in, like, prime Pantry. But even then go search for kitchen faucets. Kitchen faucets have coupons, it turns out. Ah, but yeah, you can get coupons on stuff. Let me filter by stuff with coupons. Obviously, they don’t want you saving money on stuff. They want to spend as much as you can. But if the option is between making the sale, not making sale, give me that option. Sure. The features there. So you clearly presented to me Let me filter by it. There’s ah, really inconsistent category depth. Like how far you can drill in the categories in different areas. And they lack obvious filters in a lot of case. Okay, so
that’s funny that you that just get brought up because I remember that being one of the things Krug talked about was that you know, when he would search for Oh, he’s looking for tennis shoes, I think was example. He used and he was presented with a series of like more and more focused sub categories until he finally got to the one that had the shoes he was looking for.
And the reason I think this is a failure now, and this again goes back to the third party thing because people are putting in all of these other products. It’s really hard to get like the obvious filter. So I was looking for a home theater recently, a new home theater receiver, and I was looking for certain features in that, and I’ve discovered that it was missing filters on really obvious technical features that all receivers have. This is again one area new egg excels in new Ada. Like you go in any kind of thing you’re looking for. They’ve got a ton of filters for it, and they they make sense. They don’t overlap, and you feel confident after you’ve done them with Amazon. I don’t feel any of that. It’s no, it’s a grab bag. If you’re looking at laptops or TV’s. Our kitchen appliances, like the options they give you for filters maybe is limited as just color or a lot of times, like just an other category where they’ve thrown some keywords on it like randomly. There they’re filtering is trash by any standard. I think at this point, and the fact that it’s really inconsistent makes it hard to use because you never know if you’ll have what you need.
I don’t want to be like like I completely agree with you. The only defense I can see there is that they’re trying to sell everything ever and the incredibly like a massive amount of a product that is the naming things in computer science is hard enough already naming things or categorizing things when you have an unbounded set of products that you don’t have full control over. That’s a really hard problem to tackle,
right, but again. But they will. Maybe they
just not do that
with Yeah, When they opened up the ecosystem, they went off the rails. They lost control. So here’s another really good example of this. If you go in, especially like in the like the pantry area, I’m a big fan, like if you go to the grocery store a lot of times, the price tags will have like this is $5. That’s yeah, that’s, you know, 13 cents an ounce or something, right? I love that I love being able to break down pricing, especially if I’m looking at buying in bulk. And I’m like, Well, I could buy a six pack for $10 or a 25 pack for, you know, whatever. Which one is cheaper per ounce or per unit. They offer this
the thing that drives me nuts, and I think that’s what you’re about to bring up with Amazon is when you have a few different product lines but like one of them will be like, Oh, yeah, these this six pack of Pepsi is this many like sense per ounce. This six pack of Pepsi is the spending since Per can a pack of Pepsi? Is this many sense per per 100? I’ve seen that before. Yep, like nobody has about 100. Yeah, that’s
that’s exactly the problem. You can go in tow and, like, say, the pantry area is really bad about this, where you’ll see in the same search results. Some items are priced around somewhere by count somewhere, my unit and it’s all over the place, and that’s you know, you say it’s like hard to do the filter thing. This is something that would be stupid. Easy. Yeah. You know, in fact, you could just give all those options. You know, what’s the price per weight? Per, you know, unit and per item that inconsistency and not giving me the ability to change it. You know, maybe I want a price it per item. Instead, you know, per count. Maybe I want a price. It per ounce, whatever. But give me that option to switch it on and display the way I want to display it and make sellers put it in. Don’t leave it up. There’s one item I was looking at. It was a 12 pack that was $38 it’s also listed at $38 account because it’s being considered one item the way they entered it instead of packet. Well, it’s Yeah, it’s such a stupid backwards way of going about it. I want review sorting fixed what you can. You can soar, you know, legally, they were Yeah, gotta review sorting. So saying, you know, sort by average customer review. If you have an item with 15 star review, it gets listed ahead of the item. That’s got an average of 4.9 but 1000 843 reviews to me, that one reviewed item is not rated better than the 4.9 that has, you know, no reviews. No,
certainly not as though there’s, though the confidence interval is very, very narrow.
Yeah, they are sorting it by absolute score. And this is really problematic. If you’re looking at something like a good example, like a cell phone case, you want to find a cell phone case over cheap, you’ve got millions, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands. I don’t know a lot of these third party vendors blooding, especially the cellphone case category. And so you get all of these listings that are super super high rated, and then you have to go 12 pages deep before you get to like the 4.9 rated, which is usually most people don’t necessarily rate of solid five. You get a span, so you roll off that number a little bit. That, to me, is really frustrating. Yeah, I would, I would add some kind of heuristics to that toe. Wait the scores within reason. Based on the number of reviews they have also gotten,
I would does this Amazon put the ah sponsored items up front to Yes, uh, hate that Really, really hate that new egg does that. Also, I really knowing
that’s when I get I wouldn’t say they should change it. Like as far as, like, orders of a bad thing. I
mean it. I like I I will go out of my way to avoid just on principle all avoid anything that’s in the sponsored area. I just refused to even look at it. Fuck.
Their review are not review their results. Pages are so broken that when you go, if you scroll down right beneath the pagination, they have had to commit a section that is literally titled need help. I don’t think I’ve ever been on another e com site. That’s like, yeah, our way. No, no broken. I need to give you a health section underneath. That feels like a really astonishing admission to me. I would get rid of that. Absolutely. Get rid of that. Just beneath that Need help section is where they start packing in. Like all of the explore mawr here, stuff related to what you’ve been looking at here is your browsing history. I would lose all three of those sections. Get rid of at least on search result pages. I could see it if you’re browsing. If you’re just clicking in the categories, I could understand leaving that. But if I’m searching for kitchen faucets, I don’t need to see anything else. You know exactly what I’m looking for. So that is just taking up additional space. A Sfar asshole concerned. Yeah, I would lose the whole section, make the page a little bit shorter that way. And so here’s where another hostile design alert comes in. Yeah, on results, pages and again, new egg does this right. You cannot do price comparisons. You can’t select items and say I want to and not just price comparison, but feature comparison. I can’t compare these items like, Okay, I’m looking at three microwaves, or let’s keep the metaphor going. I’m looking three kitchen faucets. Let me select those three kitchen faucets and look at them side by side apples time. You can’t do it on Amazon. They will show you. We’ll talk about this in second. Well, we’ll talk about in a second. Let’s go toe product pages right. The first thing that jumps out to me. And I don’t know if you have this air and on product pages in the, like the pricing area on the right hand side. OK, I have a button that says add toe wedding registry.
I do not have that.
So you don’t have it?
No, Uh, nothing. I’m looking at Amazon right now. I can’t get over the ad to the list. I see at the West knows the wedding industry gift options and see add to cart by now, um, offered to sell one of Amazon, but yeah, I don’t see anything else, though.
Interesting. I seen at the wedding registry button, and I don’t know why I’ve been married 11 years. I’m not getting married again. That’s like that. We had a wedding registry. At one point he saw
that you bought all these like wedding things, you know? Ah, a month ago. So you
ordered one worth. Let’s say you need order another. But now I did at one point have a wedding registry, but I got rid of it. I deleted closed or whatever. And if you click, I click the button to see what it would do. And it took me to the create a wedding registry page. Like, I have no idea why I’m seeing at the wedding register. You know, married at this point, the next thing that I see that I just think needs an overhaul is image care cells,
like, just in general. Or
like, yeah, the whole product image area. Yeah, I hate it. Nails are tiny. They have no like image Spec. So have you ever looked at something that had, like, a tiny image? Then you click on it, but it was still a tiny image I could didn’t zoom in or anything. There’s there’s no like size requirements, apparently, or like that area. Really just needs an overhaul all the way around. I don’t the whole float and it shows you the zoomed in thing on the right is kind of, I don’t know, very old feeling at the
Yeah, yeah, yeah. I could definitely see that.
There’s okay. This is maybe one of the biggest things on product pages. You have like the masthead, right? With the title of the gallery price. Like quick details. Yeah. Then they have three giant rose frequently bought together four stars and above sponsored products related to this item all before you get to the product description.
Yeah, that that the fact that it’s before the product description is wrong, that that feels very wrong. I expect the product description and product information things to be like at the top. And then I do expect those recommended recommended things. And to be completely honest, the frequent about together isn’t a bad thing. That that one actually feels like That’s a good, good robot. Give it to
me once I’m adding it to my cart. Yeah, yeah, that would be all right. Don’t sneak it in like that’s one thing that Amazon is good about. They don’t like sneak stuff in your cart, but right, if I’m not buying it yet that I don’t care what’s frequently bought together right? But in putting it all before, the product description is just monstrously annoying. Um, that descriptions themselves are also incredibly inconsistent. There’s again no real standard to them. If you look at like a really nice item from a big vendor, they’ve got these beautifully designed, detailed descriptions with graphics and and lay out in all of this and then you click on an item and it’s like one sentence. It’s, you know, it’s It’s worse than looking at stuff on eBay at that point.
But really, they’re expecting people to just be shopping my image or by name like that. You already know what you’re looking for. You’re just looking for the right thing. Eso Here’s something,
though, that immediately jumps out at me to, um, I’m looking at this description from the manufacturer and all. It is an image. It’s a giant image layout. So again, text everything invisible to a screen reader. No all test giant poster board product description that
I wonder how often Amazon get sued for five elite issues.
Not nearly enough. Yeah, photos in the reviews you were talking about reviews, you know that you can users can upload their own photos. I, you say you go to, like, read negative reviews. I like user photos because it means they actually have the damn thing. Yeah, it’s good, but the photos aren’t keyboard navigable. I can’t sit there and use like the right arrow to flip through them. I have to physically click constantly, and that’s minor. But it is really annoying because I’m constantly thinking offset the arrow and I forget. Oh, yeah. I can’t use the arrow here. The last thing I would do to a product page is give me price alerts. I want. All right, Mort, feature.
You mean, like when the price or something changed? Like I get that? I thought, Yeah, well, there’s a wish list. Yeah, You’ll get another Reichardt like heart.
Yeah, you’ll get you’ll get in your cart. It will tell you when an item has changed. Okay? On your wish list. It will tell you if the prices dropped since you added it. Okay? You have to go looking for those things, though, on the product page that the $80 kitchen faucet Let me say tell me when it’s $75. Yeah. And again, I know why Amazon doesn’t want to put that kind of feature on a product, but the same time tools like camel, camel, camel exist. Yeah, I So if you don’t know camel, camel camel dot com is 1/3 party tool. They basically tracked the price of everything on Amazon. And you can go in. You just give it the u R l or the the highest say in number, whatever it is. Um of the item and they’ll show it to you and they’ll give you the entire price history of it. And you can see Hey, it’s $10 off on Black Friday, usually so you can put in your price alerting they’ll email you when it drops. Beautiful. That’s cool. So the last area that we want to touch on just briefly is the account experience, because if you are buying from Amazon, obviously interacting with your account to something you’ll do often. And you had mentioned that that’s one of the top three things you do you air and you said, you go to your your account to go to your wish lists,
First and foremost, I think that landing page for accounts just needs overhauled straight up. Yeah, it is such a wall of text and links. And while yes, they are categorized and they are, they have headers. It’s so dense, and there are so many options that are competing for attention. I don’t want to sit there and read through everything. Let me filter it or something like that. It’s to go to Hicks Law from the laws of UX. The time it takes to make a decision increases with the number and complexity of choices. So, yeah, if you got them there and they’re categorized and panelled or whatever you’ve got, I don’t know how many links are on that account. Paid several dozen. Yeah, it’s it’s too many options. And so I always end up hunting when I need. I had Toe de Register an echo device recently, and there is a section for manage content and devices. But it’s this tiny link under the Digital Content Devices header. And as I was scanning, the only thing I kept seeing was manage content. My eyes, as I was scanning, was not picking up manage content and devices. How so I would I would Over I would do something. I would do a card sort with people. I would sit down and I would figure out a way to address this. You know, they’re very search driven. Give me. You know, boxes is what do you want to do and throw some of your ai genius added, and let me type in what I want to do. I want to manage my echoes. Cool. You want to manage devices? Here you go. That would
that would be great. I are just treated like Google does. I think it’s kind of what you’re just suggesting right there.
You know where this actually works? Well, and I said we weren’t gonna talk about eight of us. But if you use AWS, you may be familiar with how, um all because aws has a ton of co cardio Hoeness and they have a search bar and you type in, you could type and I need s three and need access toe. Oh, yeah, Yeah. Crowd front. And then, as you’ve done that, they keep your most frequent stuff at the the that list when you click into it. And that would be smart like,
yeah, that would be a good start.
The next thing to go back to the point from the previous section I want I want price alerts. I want alerts. Win. Something on my wish list is on sale. Don’t just tell me something is 17% off, like it does that in your wish list. It’ll tell you while it’s dropped 17% since you added, that’s great. I like knowing that, but send me an alert and tell me like that’s marketing. That’s not even you know, you X, you know, type, design stuff. That’s just marketing to say. You know what? Give me alerts from my wish list. Steam does it. Yeah. When steam sales go on where steam games go on sale
and doing we reliably. Yes.
Well, yeah. Can it get old? But let me control it. Let me, you know, say on these items, send me an email or if the price drops or something like that, or if it drops by more than 10% or something. But this is just, like, sell your stuff. You have all of this information on what I want. Sell it to me. Let me help you sell it to me. Let me tell you when I want to see it. The last thing we’re gonna close on this because it just feels incredibly appropriate. The one hostel design, it’s it’s not. You go to dark patterns, not or this one is not explicitly mentioned there. But make it easy for me to delete my account. Yeah, I know a lot of people feel very strongly about Amazon, and I’m not gonna get into the politics of it or the business of it. A lot of people just don’t like Amazon, and that’s fine. And if you want to get rid of your account that we’ll have a link to an article from Nor VPN that explains the multi step, incredibly arduous process you have to go through in order to delete your account. But it is there on, and that is absolutely hostile design there. It’s the casino mentality, the Hotel California mentality. They are trying to keep you locked into that environment. Um, and that is really sin number one, as far as I’m concerned. So yeah, give me a big button and say, Here’s how did the bill your account? Let’s be done with it.
I will say the Nord VPN article mentions that they send you an email with all the services and side effects of deleting your account. Wow,
they tried to shame you into saying basically So what would you do? Let us know. Shoot us Ah, message or something? And tell us what you would change on amazon dot com to make it better or what features and no, you the most love to hear your thoughts on it. This is just a sampling like We spent an hour talking about something that literally could go on all day, so we just picked a few off the top that were, like, very superficial. That would be quick quality of life type changes, so I’d love to hear what you have to say. Drunken UX podcast is brought to you by our friends at New Cloud New Cloud is an industry leading interactive map provider who has been building location based solutions for organizations for a decade. Are you trying to find a simple solution to provide your users with an interactive map of your school, city or business? Well, New Clouds Interactive map platform gives you the power to make and edit a custom interactive map in just minutes. They have a team of professional cartographers who specialize in map illustrations of many different styles and already to design an artistic rendering to fit your exact needs. One map serves all of your users devices with responsive maps that are designed to scale and blend in seamlessly with your existing website. To request a demonstration or to view their portfolio. Visit them online at new cloud dot com slash drunken ux. That’s in you cloud dot com slash drunken ux. Everybody, thanks for dropping in with us tonight. Like I said, I’d love to hear what you have to say. If you have any thoughts or opinions on how you would improve Amazon, I’ve loved it here. And if you want to be successful, walking in Amazon footsteps is not always the right way to go. Check out some of the links will have in the show notes and go out and be successful.
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and shuttled to the guys over thought Peter Podcast. That’s Joel Goodman, who has been on our show before, and John Steven Stansell dijo John. They’ve got a show on higher ed digital marketing, so I know it’s very niche, but I they had me on their latest episode, episode number 17. If you want to go check it out. I talked about a lot of the do less better mentality, and while we geared towards higher ed. I think there’s a lot of advice there that applies regardless of your industry. On that philosophy of do less Better applies pretty much anywhere. I will say
Joel is great. He’s a good friend on he has is instagram Feed is awesome. He doesn’t amazing stuffed with bread. But if you are a social media person, you gotta follow John J S S T A N C L on Twitter. He regularly posts like, really great content about social media marketing. A lot of it is like great being about how tedious and annoying it could be, especially right now. But he posed good content, though, is definitely worth following.
Check them out. They’re a thought peter pod dot com or jump on where reels in the podcast. And as for us, same deal. Don’t leave us writing a review Wherever you listen to podcasts, we appreciate it helps us out. It only takes a second Teoh hit the like button or the rating button. And if you feel like riding a review even better, But you do what you feel comfortable doing, because all of this is just to say, you know, whether you’re trying to improve the way you’re designing e commerce. Whether you’re looking for ways to do less better, the best advice I can give you each and every day’s keep your personas close, but your users closer by.
This episode of The Drunken UX Podcast brought to you by nuCloud.