Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Amazon.com's Design Usability Problems

I have issues with Amazon.com. Namely, it always takes me ridiculously longer than necessary to accomplish anything on the site.

The Sign In Link
At the top of the page is a line reading "Hello. Sign in to get personalized recommendations." For some reason, the part of that line that links to the login page is "personalized recommendations" rather than "Sign in" or even the whole sentence. My reasons for being on the site had nothing to do with personalized recommendations. Ergo, I stayed away from the mysterious "personalized recommendations" link and was completely frustrated by the time I finally clicked it out of desperation and accidentally stumbled upon the login page.

Gift Card Purchases
I wanted to use a gift card that I had applied to my account to buy a song. For the life of me , I could not find the option to use the gift card for the purchase. I was signed in. I found the song. I clicked purchase. There was no option to select a gift card from my account as the payment method. There was an option to apply a new gift card, but none to use a previously applied gift card. Eventually I said, "f*** this, it's only $1, I'll just use my credit card."

My credit card, however, was never charged. In investigating why, I discovered that gift cards on your account are automatically applied to purchases before whatever payment form you provide.

That leads to a few thoughts:
  1. Why not let me choose to use a gift card, or choose not to? Seems odd to force me to use a gift card just because I applied it to my account for safe-keeping.
  2. If they're going to force me to use the gift card first, why not check to see if I have one before making me input my credit card information, thus saving me the hassle of filling out an unnecessary form.
Well, that's the shortlist of my recent complains regarding Amazon.com's usability...

Update
I was recently told this was, "because you're not dumb enough to appreciate Amazon's idiotic structure."  I'll take that as a compliment.