December 9th, 2007 | 2 MIN READ Fails at Basic Usability - Passes

Written by author_profile_images Linda Bustos

Linda is an ecommerce industry analyst and consultant specializing in conversion optimization and digital transformation.

Amazon holiday logoAmazon is often touted as the usability darling of e-commerce. Number one on Internet Retailer's Top 500 List last year, the mega-store is usually way ahead of other retailers in so many ways. That's why my experience on Amazon this weekend was so surprising. Shopping on, I experienced search failure more than once -- and also discovered that my problems wouldn't have happened on

Exhibit A - Can't Handle A Typo

This is what happened when I made a spelling error for "Web Analytics: An Hour A Day" on Search Fail

And this is the same search on

Amazon Search Pass

Exhibit B - Can't Handle Stemmings

For a site that's so eager to make recommendations, I was surprised that I got a "zero results" page when searching for a book about "landing pages": Fails Search

"Oh, did you mean landing page? So sorry, why didn't you say so in the first place?"

Landing Page Search figured it out, and delivered more than one result: Passes Landing Pages Search

Exhibit C - Design

You'll notice from the screenshots that is still using the tombstone navigation that was abandoned by the redesign a couple months ago. Fair enough, it may not be as simple as flicking a switch for and to get the fresh look and Amazon decided to roll the new design out in stages. But the new layout was designed for better usability and sales - so I'm wondering what's the hold up. Certainly Amazon should be concerned with providing the optimal holiday shopping experience?

The Canadian site is also missing an important holiday usability reminder - shipping deadlines: Right Hand Corner lets you know right up front how many days you have to cash in on super saver shipping. Right Hand Corner

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