Long, long ago in 2005, Jakob Nielsen wrote a short article titled, “Amazon: No Longer the Role Model for E-Commerce Design.” Amazon’s product pages, he said, were “littered with extraneous features, ranging from a ‘Gold Box’ over a ‘wish list spree’ to promotions for reading glasses and other irrelevant products.”
That was then. This is now:
The pages are different. But not less cluttered. Just re-cluttered. Some design choices have helped, some have hurt. It’s almost a toss-up: would I rather be back in 2005 or shopping now in 2011?
It doesn’t have to be a time-machine choice, however. We’ve been developing A Cleaner Amazon both as an addition to our A Cleaner YouTube extension (available for Chrome and Safari and Firefox [download]) and as a separate extension for Chrome. Here’s where we stand now, cluttered on the left and less cluttered on the right:
But we can do better, we can do cleaner.
Now, we don’t want to be misunderstood–we like Amazon, we use it. A lot. Like almost everyone else, we turn to it for not just buying books and Legos but also for product information and, most important of all perhaps, product reviews.
We think, though, that the experience could be less cluttered. And here’s a sneak peak of what we mean when we say “less cluttered,” a sneak peak that’s obscured to heighten the anticipation and tension: