Amazon.com (Good Design)

 

I have chosen the Amazon.com website as an example of good design. I use Amazon.com from time to time to purchase merchandise and what’s great about it’s design is that it has good, visibility, affordances, feedback and constraints. One of the first things that I noticed on the homepage is that, it has a large search bar in the top portion of the site (see figure 1 below).

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Figure 1

This search bar immediately shows the user where they can search for items, and is a good example of visibility.

The cursor that flashes inside of the search bar is an affordance that provides a clue to the user that this is where they can type in the item they are searching for (see figure 2).

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Figure 2

 

Not only do figures 1 and 2, reflect good visibility and affordance, but also good natural mapping. For example, most websites designed today, usually place the search bar at the top of their web page(s) and this has become a universal standard. In other words, when users choose to use a websites search bar, they naturally expect to find it somewhere on the top portion of the site.

When the user is ready to purchase their item, there is a Vendor’s Page  that lists different sellers for the user to choose from. There is a button at the end of each row (see figures 3 and 4) that shows an image of a shopping cart.

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Figure 3

 

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Figure 4

 

This button is an affordance that provides a clue to the user that this is where they select their item for purchase. Once the user has selected their item for purchase, they are led to an Items Selected Page, that shows the user the number of items they have selected see figure 5). A picture of a shopping cart (that is located on the top right hand side of the page) shows the user the number of items they have selected.

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Figure 5

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This display provides great feedback to the user, because it lets them know what action has taken place (the action being a reflection of the number of items selected). This page also allows the user to edit the number of items they have selected (see figure 5). In case a user has selected the wrong number of items they are allowed to correct it. This is another great example of good design. According to Donald Norman (author of “The Design of Everyday Thing) a product of good design “Make[s] it possible to reverse actions-to ‘undo’ them- or make it harder to do….” (Norman 131).

What’s nice about Amazon.com is that, users are able to browse and review merchandise sold on the site without having to sign in, but in order to purchase items on the site, the user is required to sign-in. If the user starts the process of selecting an item but has forgotten to sign in, once the user clicks on the “Add To Cart” button on the Vendor page(see figure 3), they are immediately led to the Amazon sign in page, before they can proceed with the purchase (see figure 6)

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Figure 6

 

. This is an example of good physical constraint. This constraint reminds and forces the user to sign-in before proceeding with their purchase. This website provides the user with great clues on how to its the website. Digital interfaces that contain good visibility, mapping, constraints and affordances are examples of good usability and learnability.