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Amazon's mobile site has been going for a while, and I've been testing out the site to see how easy Amazon makes it to make a purchase by mobile phone.
According to this survey, Amazon is one of the more impressive mobile shopping sites, so what is it doing right?
To make the site more accessible and easy to use for mobiles, Amazon has stripped out and simplified much of the content from the web version.
The mobile homepage is pretty basic, providing a search box; some recommended products, as well as the option of navigating through categories via a drop down menu.
I tried this on an iPhone and it works well, and is a simple enough interface to work effectively on mobile devices with smaller screens.
Browsing/ searching for products
The way the mobile site is set up doesn't really allow for easy browsing, unless you just want to look through the best seller and recommended products in each category.
For instance, choosing electronics from the drop down menu just gives you a long list of bestselling products to go through, with no means of selecting a sub category to make the search more accurate:
This means that the mobile site works better if you know what you are looking for, and the search results were accurate and effective for the products I tried typing in.
However, the site could do with a feature that corrects misspellings and typing errors, or even an auto-suggest function. Typing is that little bit harder on a mobile, so users could do with a little help.
Amazon's web product pages are packed with details, video, technical details, reviews etc, so the mobile version has to be stripped down considerably to be usable at all.
And this is what you get; the product title, price and average review score are displayed prominently, along with a nice big call to action button. Scrolling down the page will provide more details, but the page has been kept nice and simple.
Links to further information such as the manufacturer's product description, full text of reviews etc and these can be expanded and minimised easily.
Basket / checkout
The shopping basket provides a minimal summary of the products added so far, and does lack information like delivery details and returns policies.
The checkout on Amazon mobile has been kept nice and smooth, only the necessary details are asked, and for users who already have an Amazon account, the process of entering delivery details is avoided.
While the Amazon mobile site lacks much of the sophistication of the web version, and is best used when you know the exact product you are looking for, it does provide an excellent mobile e-commerce experience.
The buying and shopping process was streamlined and individual pages loaded quickly, which is very important on a mobile. One or two things could be improved, such as more help for users on search results, but Amazon has produced an effiicient mobile e-commerce site.
Ten things Amazon can do better online