Why does Amazon not change its UX?

The short and simple answer is that Amazon does not want to change something that works brilliantly well. You know, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

According to a visualobjects survey, most generations expressed that Amazon has the most appealing UX. Now that could be breaking news because obviously other websites such as Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram look like the ones with a better UI UX.

Data for the effect of Amazon UX on different generations by VisualObjects

What’s missing here?

Designing a user experience that covers multiple generations has been a challenge for many since older users can get flustered by more complicated interfaces. Meanwhile, younger users tend to get attracted to websites and apps with UX that is not only visually good but intuitive in nature.

This creates a disbalance for users that are less tech-savvy, or not at all.

Amazon wins here with its offering of UX which is not only minimal but is search-oriented. It is friendly for both the groups who are well accustomed to the ways of the internet and others who are still new to the digital space.

Amazon’s search-driven UX

Amazon's search bar on their website makes it easier for users to find products

In Amazon’s UX design, the search bar is obvious on each page. We’re no strangers to the use of a search bar. It exists so that users can find products with ease. Amazon’s search feature comes with filters, to refine and view search results in an open fashion.

And then there’s the autocomplete and autosuggestion inspired by the giant search engine Google.

According to a study by Baymard, Amazon’s search engine is ‘state of the art’ since it covers all the aspects covered above and excels at helping users find what they’re looking for, or making other relevant stuff on the website more visible to them.

Baymard's data on Amazon's UI UX performance on web and app

There’s personalization to the homepage content according to a user’s interactions with the website. This helps in ensuring successful future purchases. The visual homepage is characterized by the following:

  • Personalized recommendations
  • Recent browsing history
  • New Products
  • Popular Products
  • Items on Flash sale
  • Shopping cart

Such a collection of related items both welcomes the user and brings up a potential route to buy products. Personalization at every stage guarantees that visitors get more of what they want while also improving the site experience to increase client loyalty.

Finally, Amazon’s UX thrives because almost every generation understands how to do a text search. In another survey by Sitecore, more than two-thirds (69%) say that Amazon is the first place they look when they think of shopping online which increased from 54% last year.

Both forms of call to action on the homepage appear as hyperlinks

Both forms of call to action on the homepage appear as hyperlinks and product image links, which helps in converting all users.

Amazon’s linear and text-based UX strategy is based on personalization and usability.

The history of Amazon’s UX

Amazon's user interface and user experience through the years of UI UX design

Ever since Amazon marked its presence in the market in 1994, little has changed in terms of UX to the obvious eye.

Even in the early days of the internet, anybody with a speck of digital familiarity could use Amazon’s open and highly accessible UI.

Redesigning the website would have meant jeopardizing the business concept of attracting repeat transactions and improving client lifetime value. It would also have alienated a climbing customer base that only became profitable after six long years.

In fact, Amazon’s constancy continues to contribute to its popularity among early adopters, Gen Xers, and baby boomers, who rate Amazon’s UX as the best of all.

According to recent research, the older generation is more resistant to website modifications than younger generations. Even today, changing a good user experience is a lose-lose situation for both current and new customers of older generations.

The essential layout stays the same despite the outdated visuals, color changes, and restructured tabs. Amazon’s current navigation menu is simpler.

  • The search bar, in particular, has been extended to increase its prominence on the website. The clumsy product category buttons have been absorbed into the header menu, which simplifies and enhances the navigation area’s readability.

  • The navigation tabs have been updated as well. Previously labeled “books” or “electronics,” the tabs now direct users to their browsing history and tailored suggestions.

In an era where Amazon is known to sell a wide range of things, this optimization boosts the likelihood of users discovering, remembering, and purchasing what they like.

  • Similarly, the “Accounts” section on the right employs a strong typeface to draw attention to wishlist goods and active purchases in order to boost sales.

Constantly tweaking the site to align with buyer motivations helped Amazon to grow and retain a loyal customer base.

Amazon’s Reassurance for the buyers

Amazon regularly split-tests its product pages in order to get the highest possible conversion rate from its users. Page components are tweaked to highlight ease, value, and dependability. Amazon promotes sales by lowering the friction associated with purchasing.

For instance, the product page for JBL Quantum headphones shown below provides the visitor with a simple route to buy.

JBL Quantum 100 wired product page on Amazon with clean UI UX

A lot of white space highlights both the product and its main selling elements. The product rating is shown under the product name to ensure exposure and to emphasize the social evidence that certifies the purchase quality.

Most of the images on the left are customized to quickly showcase the features of the product.

The images page of JBL Quantum 100 wired product page on Amazon with clean UI UX

The attention is pulled to the big black wording that says ” “Free Delivery”, “Fastest delivery Tomorrow”, and “Buy Now” on the order detail side. Amazon understands that its consumers want their items to be both cheaper and quicker.

These command words elicit action while reiterating the savings and quickness provided with each purchase.

Every aspect of the website exists to boost pleasant feelings about a transaction of a customer. Amazon utilizes the product page well to highlight crucial features, reassure customers, and enhance conversion rates.

Amaz-on the rise

In the pursuit to appease a person’s rant on Reddit, a user wrote:

“I think people here are missing the main point. Amazon’s interface IS good. What’s the purpose of the site? To buy things. And for that purpose, you’d better believe they’ve AB tested every scenario under the sun to get you to find what you want and buy it in the fastest way possible with the fewest clicks possible.

In fact, many if not most of the things we expect from e-commerce came from Amazon: Related products, reviews, one-click buy, etc.

Just because it isn’t pretty and animated, doesn’t make it bad. We could stand to remember that sometimes.”

Mark Pearson, UX Design Lead at Amazon mentions that they focus on business goals as well as user-facing goals.

Megan Harrison, Sr. UX Producer at Amazon says that she feels it’s their job to be the voice of the customer as they’re designing products. Always thinking about the customer is going to use the feature or product.

So it becomes clear what is Amazon’s direction in terms of UI UX changes, circling back to the fact ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. Certainly, accessibility and usability are going to stay at the core of Amazon’s functionality to attract and retain users for the foreseeable future.

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