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Wednesday 08|29|01
More Amazon Shenanigans

Being a frequent Amazon user, I am constantly on the site spending all my extra cash and browsing around to see what they are doing. I was pleased with the changes they have made with checkout - their 6 step process is now a one-pager. If you haven't seen it - buy something and check it out. After my last post about Erin's Store, I got an email from a developer at Amazon giving me some hints that they were testing out some new things.

So I spent an hour with two different browsers across two different machines to try and get the different variations to come up. What I found was more work and experimentation with the tab alternatives. Clearing cookies and trying links out on different browsers gave me different views and scenarios. I was presented, again with the tab with my name on it. Cool. In another scenario I was presented with a tab that said "Your Store". Not as cool, less personal but more generic for presenting to millions of users. The other changes were variations on the recommendations area.

The images (which popup into a separate window) show the variations:
erin's store, your recs

your store, no custom recommendations

your store, your recs

Notice the differences in the subnav depending on whether there is a "Your Recs" tab. What I didn't see was a "Erin's Store" tab at the same time as a "Your Recs" tab. Which makes me wonder what the sub nave would be. How much stuff would each have in it, where is the overlap and what is unique? I can see the recommendations area growing as much as the My area has over the last couple of years.

If given the chance to vote, I would pick the my store tab with my name on it versus the generic your store. I think the more generic "Your Recs" is ok because Amazon is making those recommendations to me. I also kind of like the idea of that as a persistent tab versus the button under the tab that only shows up on some tab selections.

Most of all, I like the fact that Amazon is boldly experiementing on the live site and gaining valuable user reaction to the variations. This should allow them to gain feedback and to watch the stats over a large segment of their users versus a handful that could be done in testing. I also like the fact that even though they are experimenting and trying new things, none of these things impedes my ability to navigate and find what I am looking for. The overall perceived experience is still the same and in the case of the checkout system, much better. Which in the long run for me, could be dangerous to my bottom line.

Posted by erin at 06:38 PM | in Amazon

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