Amazon has unveiled a new design for its UK site, with a new homepage and navigation system.

New design

Here's the old version of the site, for comparison:

Old brought in the same design in October and now it has been rolled out for the UK site. Not everyone will be able to see the new version yet though.

Gone is the old tab-style navigation at the top of the page, to be replaced by product categories on the left side of the page: navigation

This left hand navigation minimises once you are in a different section of the site, and can be revealed by rolling the mouse over it, which means more screen real estate for Amazon.

The new design and colour scheme looks better than the previous version, but the use of drop down menus can be a problem for web users, as you have to start all over again if the cursor moves away from the menu.

The search bar is now more prominent, which is fine as this is the way I normally navigate around Amazon - the product categories are so large that this is often the quickest way.

Amazon search bar

Amazon explains the design on the site:

"We concentrated on shopping, searching, saving and buying--the four activities that customers have repeatedly told us are the most important to them. They're now prominently featured at the top of every page on the site."

This is fine, but Amazon doesn't seem to have made any changes which improve customer experience in those areas. The site search, product pages, shopping basket and checkout have all remained the same as before.

We recently looked at the areas which Amazon could improve online, and none of these things have been changed. My biggest problem with Amazon is the lack of filtering options to narrow down product searches.

Amazon has so many products, users need help with browsing and finding what they want - you can often end up with pages and pages of products to look through.

Related research:
Web Design Best Practice Guide
Online Retail User Experience Benchmarks

Related stories:
Amazon triples profits

Graham Charlton

Published 24 March, 2008 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is editor in chief at SaleCycle, and former editor at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin.

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Comments (1)

Paul Rouke

Paul Rouke, Founder & CEO at PRWD

Hi Graham,

I've just taken a look at the new site, and regarding your point on the lack of attribute filtering, I'm wondering whether you have seen the filtering options when you navigate through to, for instance, a particular style of music?

Although not shown until the 3rd level of sub navigation, multi-faceted navigation is introduced, and a feature I particularly like is how, when you specify a price range ie. £5 to £10, you are then given the option of typing in your own price bracket range.

My suggestion for this would be to allow for this user input at the time as when you are 1st presented with the price range filters, rather than they only appearing after you have specified a price range.

Additional enhancements could be the ability to specify multiple attributes from the same set. For instance when looking at music I would like to see all the products that are either box sets or compilations at the same time, but this isn't currently possible as you can only specify 1 format of music.

Due to its fairly unique scale in terms of its catalogue of products there are certainly some really interesting user experience challenges when it comes to navigation and findability, but Amazon certainly have the right ethos of User Centered Designing to ensure their users needs are met head on.


over 10 years ago

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