The Amazon Website Is a Clunky Mess—Here's How to Make It Suck Less

Illustration for article titled The Amazon Website Is a Clunky Mess—Heres How to Make It Suck Less
Image: Amazon Lite

For an enterprise as big and as dominant as Amazon is, you would expect its website to be maybe a little bit more polished and easier to navigate—as it is, it feels like 20 years’ worth of bits of web code bolted rather haphazardly together. While we wait for Amazon to do a ground-up revamp, here’s how to make your shopping a little easier.

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Use the Amazon Assistant

Illustration for article titled The Amazon Website Is a Clunky Mess—Heres How to Make It Suck Less
Screenshot: Gizmodo
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Cut through the clutter of the Amazon website with the help of the Amazon Assistant, a plug-in that works on most modern browsers. It gives you easy, speedy access to items you’ve previously bought, items you’ve recently looked at, your personal wishlists, and the Amazon search tool, so you don’t have to spend as much time browsing Amazon proper. It’ll also alert you if an item is cheaper on Amazon as you browse online shopping sites.

Bookmark key pages

The Amazon website is host to a whole range of stuff, from Prime Video to garden chairs, which means the navigation options can be confusing. One way around this is to bookmark key parts of the Amazon site that you know you’re going to use frequently: It could be the deals of the day, or the best 19th century historical fiction, or your past orders page, or whatever you need to cut down on time spent browsing the Amazon site.

Get pop-up quick views

Another browser extension that we’d like to draw your attention to is DS Amazon Quick View, which is only available for Chrome for the time being. It brings up a ton of information on products without you having to click through to see them, and that means less time spent clicking forward and backward on the Amazon site (and as an added bonus, Amazon doesn’t have quite as much info on what items you’re looking at).

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Use the phone apps

Illustration for article titled The Amazon Website Is a Clunky Mess—Heres How to Make It Suck Less
Screenshot: Amazon
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The Amazon apps for Android and iOS may not be the most polished you’ve ever set eyes on, but they do a better, tidier job of helping you get around the Amazon online store and everything that it offers. This is partly because they have less screen estate to work with, and partly because they cut out a lot of the extra Amazon services, like photos, music, and videos. If you haven’t yet given them a try, get them installed at your earliest opportunity.

Track prices online

You can find plenty of price comparison tools relating to Amazon, but one of the best that we’ve come across remains the excellent CamelCamelCamel: It’ll fit right into your browser or run in its own tab, telling you the price history of items and alerting you to price drops. All of this means you don’t have to spend quite as long browsing the Amazon site—you can use this app to tell you when there’s something worth checking out.

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Improve your recommendations

Illustration for article titled The Amazon Website Is a Clunky Mess—Heres How to Make It Suck Less
Screenshot: Gizmodo
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If you spend any time on the Amazon website, you’re probably familiar with the rows and rows of recommended items that are constantly popping up. If you want to make these slightly less annoying, make sure you’re only getting recommendations on products you’re actually interested in: Head to this page in your Amazon account and you can remove items from your recommendations, rate the stuff you really like, and make other tweaks.

Strip out ads and sponsored posts

Our final browser extension recommendation is Amazon Lite for Chrome (thanks, Lifehacker), which cuts out a lot of the clutter and superfluous fluff from the Amazon website so you can get on with looking at what you really want to be looking at—it banishes a lot of the ads and sponsored posts from view. When you first load up Amazon, it presents a simple Google-esque search bar, so you’re not distracted by anything else.

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Order through your Echo

Illustration for article titled The Amazon Website Is a Clunky Mess—Heres How to Make It Suck Less
Image: Amazon
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Avoid the Amazon website altogether by ordering products through your Echo speaker: You don’t get the same kind of control or detail as on the site of course, but if you know what you want then it’s quick and easy. All you have to say is “Alexa, order...” followed by what you want, then “Alexa, checkout...” followed by the item. Where multiple options are available, Alexa defaults to Amazon Choice products and items you’ve ordered before.

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DISCUSSION

zachariahnelson
Zach Nelson

It’s amazing how bad ALL of their UX/UI is across all devices and software. For being one of the biggest tech companies in the world it’s just so amazingly bad.

All their Smart TV apps do not use motion control on the remote, you have to use directional buttons. Which absolutely sucks when searching for something.

Their main website, judging by the menu button on the top left leads me to believe that they’re using a Bootstrap website, which is embarrassing for a huge tech company. Like look at this main page.

HOW IS THIS THE ACCOUNT MENU, ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT MENUS ON THE SITE?! THERES LIKE A FOUSAND BUTTONS! WHAT IS MY GARAGE, WHAT IS MY FANSHOP, WHAT IS AMAZON DRIVE?!

Do not get me started on lists, how can the biggest e-commerce company in the world have the worst wishlist functionality in the world, it’s even worse than Steam’s which is pretty bad in general.