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Summary

As the leader of online retailing, Amazon is not only a model worth emulating, but also a standard that’s impossible to avoid. Fortunately for the designers and users of the Web, Amazon generally gets things right, particularly in the areas where it’s most important. As a Web application interface, Amazon’s example is most useful for the following problems:

  • Structural model. Over time , Amazon has been willing and able to modify the structural model of one of its most important components: the checkout process. Here and elsewhere, Amazon demonstrates the differences between guides and wizards and shows the value of clearly differentiating between view and form pages.

  • Organizational model and navigation scheme. Amazon’s organizational models and navigation schemes work in concert to provide a flowing, seamless browsing experience virtually unparalleled in online shopping. The manner of moving through the available inventory at Amazon is fundamentally different from that of a physical store in terms of its sheer volume and the multiple ways in which items are related.

  • Editing and manipulation. The simplicity of Amazon’s interface is evident in both the checkout guide and the forms associated with the customer service center. The interactive design of these forms tends to be as obvious and natural as possible with a minimum of hidden options or complex dependencies between input controls.


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