Earlier this year I commented on the crowded look of the Amazon product page. For the past several months Amazon has been experimenting with a number of different solutions to this problem. The design they’re using today first appeared a couple of months ago and then disappeared until recently.
I like what they’ve done with this new look. It’s much cleaner than the old design. Something as simple as making the cover image larger goes a long way towards making this a much more attractive interface. It’s nice to actually be able to read some of the details on the cover (without having to click and enlarge it). It’s also a treat to be able to scroll up and down the page without being distracted by all the items they used to cram into the left and right panels.
Amazon has always done a fine job letting their customers add content to the product page. Like most Amazon customers, I find myself spending way too much time reading customer comments before making a buying decision. I don’t know when they started this, but I recently noticed they’ve added another way for customers to add content to the page. Have you seen the little “Share your own customer images” link below the cover on the product page? Examples are few and far between, but you can see how this works on the Adobe Photoshop CS2 for Photographers page; hover over the customer image thumbnail and a larger version appears in the cover area.
Given that very few customers are uploading images with this feature, just how valuable is it? I think it has a ton of potential. Sure, in the computer book area maybe it will only be effective with digital photography books, but what about other areas? Home & Garden is a great candidate. If you just finished a project using a book you bought from Amazon, isn’t it tempting to show off your handiwork by uploading a picture of the results? Pets are another great example. People love their dogs, cats, etc., and will undoubtedly love to share pictures of them with just about anyone.
As it currently works, all you can do is upload images and rate them. If this takes off though, Amazon would be wise to turn it into a visual discussion forum where customers/readers can provide the story behind the picture. This would also enable prospective customers to ask questions, get answers, etc., and add more of a community feel to Amazon.