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  1. #1
    Don't get too close, I bite! Nicky's Avatar
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    What would Amazon.com do?

    What would Amazon.com do?
    When I give speeches, I always have a slide that says, "The most important design tip of the day." OK, what's this tip that's so wonderful. Simple. All it has is the question "Would Amazon.com use that design element on its site?"

    It's an important question because Amazon.com has probably spent more time and money researching what works and doesn't work on a Web site than anyone. If you don't see a Web design technique on Amazon.com, you probably should follow their guidelines.

    Some design techniques you probably won't see on Amazon.com: (all links open new windows)

    Flash. Amazon doesn't use Flash -- why should you? This page is like so many sites. I didn't bother to check to see if you have the Flash plug-in. I just load the Flash animation and trust you've got the latest version.

    Splash pages. To give you the Classics comics version, splash pages get in the way of the visitor. Also notice that the page uses Mystery Meat Navigation -- something else you don't see at Amazon.com.

    DHTML. I like to call it DuHTML because...duh...it's too unreliable to use. Ask yourself this question...would Amazon sell more copies of my book if they used DuHTML? I doubt it.

    Java. Hmm. Would using Java sell more copies of my book? Don't think so.

    Animated GIFs. Hmm. I think this one might work. On the other hand, I don't think it will work for every book.
    By Vincent Flanders

    I thought this was amusing.

  2. #2
    SitePoint Wizard Ian Glass's Avatar
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    Yea' ;-)

    Where was that taken from (web pages that suck?), Nicky?

    ~~Ian

  3. #3
    Don't get too close, I bite! Nicky's Avatar
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    Yeah.

  4. #4
    Typo Negative brokenvoice's Avatar
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    What would Amazon do? Employ an incredibly limited tabbed navigation system that becomes more and more confusing as you add things to it.

  5. #5
    SitePoint Wizard creole's Avatar
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    He's only looking at the question from one side. If Amazon.com used dHTML, would they sell more copies of my book? Not necessarily, but dHTML could make it easier to FIND your book and BUY it.
    Adobe Certified Coldfusion MX 7 Developer
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  6. #6
    Anyone seen my cypher? OneChance's Avatar
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    The article is here: http://www.fixingyourwebsite.com/amazon.html

    I agree with him.

    creole, how would DHTML make it easier to find and buy books? I'm not questioning your knowledge, but just want to know what methods you're referring to.

  7. #7
    SitePoint Wizard creole's Avatar
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    Onechance...

    I'm not referring to any specific method. Just the general possibilities. For example, thre's some British website that's amazing. I can't remember the URL, it's ign.com or something like that. It's done completely in dHTML and it's so user friendly. You can drag and drop headlines into one area, then select that area and view only those news stories. The navigation follows you down the page.

    The fact is that by deciding not to use newer technology, they losing out on things thatcould potentially assist their customers.

    Another example, did you know that Flash can communicate with a database without needing to reload the page that it's on? What if Amazon.com used Flash for it's searching, or at least to display the results? This could lessen the amount of time the user is "downloading" the page, which in turn maximizes the amount of time that he/she could be purchasing something.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that I disagree with him completely. However, anytime someone makes totally general statements like that, I take offense and consider them an idiot. Sure, SOME Flash sites are bad, sure SOME dHTML menu's make it HARDER for the user, but not all.

    Think about it this way...at one point did the US TV stations start making shows geared towards people with color TVs? That same show couldn't have looked quite as good on a B/W TV as a show GEARED towards B/W TVs. It's almost identical with the ewb. The overwhelming majority of browsers can handle Flash, dHTML, java and the like. However, as long as we still cater to people with B/W TV's they'll never have an incentive to switch.
    Adobe Certified Coldfusion MX 7 Developer
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  8. #8
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy Jeremy W.'s Avatar
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    Hmm... Of course we should all follow amazon who have used Java, who have used dHTML and who have used Flash. We should generate information which is specific to OUR target market.

    Should Ford have a site just like Amazon? How about the local high-end design shop, should they use tabs instead of heavy graphix?

    Possibly, but it's a different market with different customers and expectations.

    (early, sorry my arguments are weak )
    SVP Marketing, SoCast SRM
    Personal blog: Strategerize
    Twitter: @jeremywright

  9. #9
    SitePoint Wizard creole's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Jeremy W.
    early, sorry my arguments are weak )
    Yes they are:
    Adobe Certified Coldfusion MX 7 Developer
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  10. #10
    SitePoint Guru moonman's Avatar
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    Different things are required for different sites. My site uses the flash connecting to the database that Creole talked about. Why?? Because I wanted it. It works well. I think my visitors like it. Just because Amazon don't use it, should I take it off??

  11. #11
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy
    beley's Avatar
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    That MAY hold true if you are designing an e-commerce website, but for a portfolio site or business site it probably wouldn't.

    E-commerce sites have to be lean and mean to load as fast as possible and get people to where they want to be... so they can buy something. But for the other genres of websites out there I don't see how this has any implication whatsoever.

  12. #12
    SitePoint Enthusiast GuitarMaster's Avatar
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    In defense of Splash Pages

    when my site becomes as well known as Amazon.Com and has as many people directing traffic to it I may choose not to use splash pages either.

    In the mean time I have to compete with 306,000 other sites and because my home page is designed for maximum benefit to the user, maintaining a 5% level of key words just isn't practical.

    Until search engines start grading on quality instead of superficial statistics I'm forced to use doorway pages. Used correctly (which I admit is rare) they can add a touch of class to Web sites.

  13. #13
    Team SitePoint AlexW's Avatar
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    GuitarMaster - Doorway pages and splashscreens are quite different things used for different purposes. You can have as many doorway (or gateway) pages as you like, and they are only there to entertain each search engine your catering for.

    Doorway pages are pages that have been developed to rank highly for a specific keyword or phrase. People visiting a doorway page as a result of a search engine query are presented with either a link to enter the main site or they are automatically redirected into the site.
    -
    Spiderfood

    If you've visited a site once you shouldn't have to enter via the doorway page again.

    Splashscreens, on the other hand, are generally used to feature large zooming text proclaiming 'WELCOME TO BLAH BLAH...' and display the company logo spinning in 3D. Usually below that is 'Click here to enter!'

    I find them both informative and entertaining (hehehe ;-))

    Oh, and Creole, I think IHT.com was the site you were thinking of, and I agree. There is nothing inherently wrong with any of the technologies mentioned. IHT uses a combination of technical skill and imagination to make it's site more usable and useful than it's competitors.

    I think you can certainly learn a lot from Amazon. In fact "would Amazon do it?" is probably a good 'tiebreaker' in design arguments.

    But in web architecture terms, Amazon is a football stadium. 50 feet wide doors, concrete floors, catering facilities for tens of thousands, industrial plumbing, etc.

    Accessible? Certainly.
    Usable? I guess.
    Doing it's job? For sure.

    Would you want to spend all day, everday in one ?

    Not really...

    Horses for courses.

    Generally our clients are looking for well conceived corporate offices, shopfronts or apartments. Delivering a football stadium doesn't usually go down so well
    Alex Walker
    SitePoint Developer
    SitePoint - Learnable


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