What is it with Amazon’s Design?

The more I look at the Amazon.co.uk website I more I get confused by its design.  I am not an usability expert, but the layout seems cluttered and I find the order they put the information confusing.  Presumably Amazon are not short of advice and expertise on how to build product pages which convert, so I can only guess that they have done this on purpose.  Take this page for example.  I find the following things surprising

  • The product description is all over the place.  Why is technical details called technical details?  Would it not be better to have all the description together
  • Are the product buying guides really more important than the description or alternative products?  They are above the fold and most of the descriptions isn’t
  • There are 13 different sections on the page.  That is a lot yes/no?
  • Sponsored links.  Surely once you have a user on your product page you want to keep them there?
  • Overall the design is pretty unappearling and to my mind quite old fashioned

Part of the answer perhaps lies in Amazon’s unique position online.  As I am sure I don’ need to tell you, Amazon is not simply an online retailer but combines aspects of the followings kinds of site:

  • Online retailer
  • Marketplace
  • Shopping comparison site
  • Review site

When I am buying products online, I always check Amazon and eBay before searching elsewhere on the web, both for pricing and review information.  Amazon’s split personality means that it acts both as a shopping destination a starting point for a online purchase.  Amazon are presumably trying to monitise these browsing shoppers by selling text ads. Indeed on Amazon.com there are specific links to buy products off Amazon with its product ads service.

The marketplace nature of the site may also be part of the problem.  As an Amazon merchant myself, I know that their user created online catalogue is frequently of a very poor quality, leading to bad product descriptions and poor search results.

Given the massive number of products and variable quality of the product data and large amount of info each item to display, I can see some reasons why Amazon chooses their currently layout. Overall, I still find it perplexing


  1. Amazon is a great place to sell as well as buy things..

  2. John Ramsey says:

    Hi Trevor, introduced to your blog from the Practical eCommerce article.  I agree, amazon is clunky, confusing and cluttered.  When ever I go on there I just look for other merchants and then google their website direct  go there.  

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