UX · Viking Code School · Web Design

UX Teardown of Amazon

This user experience (UX) teardown of Amazon is the third of three UX teardowns in an assignment for the Web Design Basics mini-course of Viking Code School’s prep work.

1. Who is the key user?

The key user of Amazon is someone looking to purchase a particular product online and browsing for a product to be shipped directly to them.

2. What is that user’s number one critical goal when using the site?

The user’s main goal is to quickly and easily locate the product they are searching for or, if they are browsing, to find a product that they would like to purchase, then follow through with the transaction.

3. What is likely to make that user’s experience particularly positive?

A fast and efficient search tool to locate their product will make the user’s experience optimal, while product comparisons and recommendations based on the user’s search would further increase user satisfaction. A simple checkout process with as little friction as possible also contributes to the user’s positive experience.

4. What is the approximate information architecture of the site?

Amazon Info Arch

5. What is the flow through that architecture for the user who is accomplishing the critical goal you identified above?

Amazon flow

6. What style(s) of navigation is/are used? Do they answer the key questions (Where am I and how did I get here? Where should I go next and how do I get there?)?

Upon arriving at the homepage, users are offered several directions to products. Featured products are displayed in a banner near the top, while columns with other product placements are shown. The main navigation bar at the top includes a prominent search bar, which is the prime location where users will be looking for in order to complete a targeted search for a product. Other options on the navigation bar include signing into your account, viewing today’s deals, going to gifts cards and registries, beginning the process to sell an item, and the help page.

Amazon nav
The main navigation bar.

Throughout the pages used to browse or search for products, users have several options on where to navigate to individual product detail pages, but can always easily recognize where they are located within the site. Both the department browsing menu and the account options are navigating by using mouse tracking, which makes the process very fluid and seamless.

7. What key interactions does the user have? Are they clear and usable?

Key interactions are all related to searching for or browsing for products. The user has options on how to begin this process, by looking at today’s deals, browsing by department, searching for a keyword, selecting one of highlight products on the homepage, or logging in and navigating to personally created lists. All of these steps are clearly laid out and provide great usability.

8. What did the site do well to allow the user to accomplish his goal effectively, efficiently and with good satisfaction?

Amazon is one of the best and most well recognize online shopping websites in existence. The browsing and search features include several diverse filters and sorting options to narrow the results page down. This greatly enhances the user’s ability to accomplish their primary goals effectively and efficiently. The ability to write and read product reviews, the star rating system, the list creation tool, and order tracking all add a great deal to user satisfaction and experience.

Amazon results
A search results page showing the many filter options on the left.

The checkout process for purchasing an item is very easy and straightforward as well. Each product page highlights the different sellers and prices to choose from, listing the exact details of savings and possible free shipping to the right. Underneath these numbers is always a large yellow “Add to Cart” button that promotes a very clear call to action for the user. The site does an excellent job in remembering payment details once you are signed in to make the purchase even easier. The site also does a good job in recommending related products or products you may be interested in both on individual product pages and after you add an item to your cart. This drives more sales for the business and adds to user satisfaction simultaneously. Overall, the website makes it extremely easy to find and purchase a product delivered right to your door.

Amazon product page
A product page on Amazon showing the yellow “Add to Cart” call to action button.

9. What did the site do poorly when allowing the user to accomplish his goal effectively, efficiently and with good satisfaction?

Amazon is the largest and one of the most efficient and well-designed product sites available for consumers of nearly any type of product. The only criticism I have is that sometimes the homepage seems cluttered with so many product suggestions and routes to begin the browsing or search process that it can be distracting from the critical goal the user originally navigated to the site to pursue.

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