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What Amazon Can Teach Us About Mobile Website Design

by Crazy Egg Experts

The name Amazon.com has become synonymous with eCommerce.

If you are reading this blog, there is no doubt that you have ordered something from Amazon.com from the comforts of your desktop or laptop computer.

Today, it is only slightly less likely that you have ordered something from Amazon from your phone.

I’m no exception.  Yesterday, I ordered a pair of ear buds on my iPhone from Amazon in between the time my dental hygienist cleaned my teeth and the dentist came in to give me the verdict.

We asked our Crazy Egg Design and Marketing Experts to analyze the Amazon mobile website design.  Take a hard look yourself, read through our opinions and, if you are so inclined, give us your analysis in the comments below.

Amazon Mobile Website Design Cesar Keller, Simple Flame

1. Using a simple one column structure as a list view for the interface.  Adding multi column structures for any small mobile device makes the entire real estate feel crammed and harder to use.

2. Keeping things simple by introducing high level functions and options that are most important such as: search, cart, wish list, streamlined menus.

3. Information for the product is minimal to start, but if user is interested, they can go to the next layout with more details.  Biggest mistake most people make is providing too much copy/content on one screen, especially for mobile.

4. Option to use full site at the bottom.  Providing the user the option to choose experience is important.

5. Graphics, colors, and overall aesthetics are clean and minimal – which help performance and keep maintenance costs lower.

~Cesar Keller, Simple Flame

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Robin Cannon, Shiny Toy Robots

I’m also really happy to see that they offer a clear link to the Amazon.com full site. It’s amazing how many mobile sites don’t do this.

~ Robin Cannon, Shiny Toy Robots

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Angela Jones, Design By Ange.la

The ad below the search bar for Amazon Apps doesn’t appear to be an ad at all and is, very likely, the reason the user navigated to Amazon on their mobile device in the first place.

The mobile site seems easy to navigate since appears very similar to the regular website. The cart is at the top, always reminding you how many items you have so far and the search bar and department categories are easy to navigate as well.

~ Angela Jones, Design By Ange.la

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Christopher Lee, Christopher Lee Designs

Given how much attention Amazon pays to what users are doing on their site, they most likely took their top categories and made them easily accessible. The arrows on the buttons are great functional suggestions. I can tell that if I push Books the page is going to slide down in an accordion effect and I can tell that if I push See All Departments I’m going to head off to another screen. This is very effective in letting the user know what’s going to happen. To the savvy user it lets you know what you can do with a spotty 3G/4G connection and what you may want to wait for a more stable connection to do.

I love how the account specific and sub-categories are styled differently. This style change lets me know that these choices are specific to me and/or my account.

Finally, the best part of all, FULL SITE! I can’t tell you how many poor mobile sites I’ve been to where the experience was so lacking I wanted to go to the full site. You know what those poor mobile sites all have in common? They don’t let you go to the full site! A+ to Amazon for giving me the freedom to choose.

~ Christopher Lee, Christoper Lee Designs

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Sanj Sahayam, Unique Imprints

The two containers (blue and yellow) have different styles. The blue one has rounded corners and is smaller in width than the yellow one – which has square corners. It might be more consistent if they were both the same style unless they are supposed to be separated.

From the screenshot it is unclear as to whether the department list is used when a search is done (as is the case on the www.amazon.com). This is mainly due to having advertisement in between the search field and the department list.

The Cart and Wishlist links are duplicated once up the top and once down the bottom. Given that mobile screen space is limited, one set should be removed.

~ Sanj Sahayam, Unique Imprints

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Brian Schwartz, Spoke Marketing

I could nitpick some stuff (like wasting so much height on the ad for the Kindle Fire ensuring that anyone on an iPhone will never see the menus without scrolling down first), but I said I wouldn’t nitpick so I’ll stop.

~ Brian Schwartz, Spoke Marketing

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Joseph Kalinowski, Content Marketing InstituteThe great thing about the Amazon Mobile home page design is the fact that it is a simple design that one can identify as Amazon just by the fonts and colors.  The use of the viewable space (before you would have to scroll below the fold) is great. The subtle placement of “deals” below the logo is pretty sly, plus having the button to promote the mobile app below the search bar is a great idea. The end user may find it easier to download the app and have it readily available then have to navigate to Amazon each time through the phone’s browser.

~ Joseph Kalinowski, Content Marketing Institute

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Angie Schottmuller, Search Engine Watch

On the improvement note, links on the page need an audit check for adequate text size and padding to ensure they’re easily clickable. (Tip: Your pinky nail can work as a handy mobile sizing/spacing guide for links since it’s mostly likely the size of the your index finger’s pressable surface area.)

~ Angie Schottmuller, Search Engine Watch

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Naomi Niles, ShiftFWD

The only thing I’d like if I were to use that application is that the advertisement was further down underneath the departments. It seems more intuitive to have them directly underneath the search box instead.

~ Naomi Niles, ShiftFWD

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Danny Iny, Firepole Marketing

~ Danny Iny, Firepole Marketing

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Russ Henneberry, Tiny & Mighty Media

Secondly, it is clear that it has been detected that I am using an iPhone to reach the mobile version of the website.  This has caused the mobile home page to display a call-to-action to download their iPhone applications.

Lastly, the navigation is brilliantly organized which is no small feat for a company that sells the wide array of products that Amazon sells.  They list the most popular “departments” on the home page and then a link to “See All Departments” if you don’t find what you are looking for.  This allows them to serve the majority of people without cluttering up the mobile interface with links.

We know that many of our readers are experts in design and marketing as well. We would love to hear your critique of the Amazon Mobile Home Page in the comments!

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  1. Rosetta says:
    April 11, 2012 at 10:17 am

    Hmm it seems like your site ate my first comment (it was extremely long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I had written and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog. I as well am an aspiring blog blogger but I’m still new to the whole thing. Do you have any helpful hints for beginner blog writers? I’d genuinely appreciate it.

  2. Tom says:
    February 1, 2012 at 12:46 am

    I think the navigation is great. And the color scheme is transcendent of their desktop version. Amazon’s branding is their usability… digitally at least. They are missing a huge oppertunity to harness that same gut feeling through their TV and print media

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