Sunday, 23 October, 2005

Fighting with Amazon

I just spent a very frustrating 10 minutes fighting with Amazon's Web site.  I don't use Amazon very often, which might be part of the problem.  Still, I'm no dummy (at least, I don't think I am), and when a Web site is difficult for me to figure out I often wonder how less computer-savvy people manage to navigate it.  Amazon's programmers and Web designers need to delete their cookies and try operating the site without cookies enabled, or with expired cookies.  Or am I the only person in the world who doesn't somehow have his computer automatically log in to Amazon at startup? is a great site for finding and buying all kinds of things.  But their site is horribly difficult to navigate.  Sometimes if I click on "Add to Cart," the resulting screen shows my cart and supplies a button that will let me return to the item or list of items I was viewing.  Other times, not.  Same with the one-click ordering:  sometimes I can get back to where I was and sometimes I have to search again to build the list.  The pages are filled with so many order buttons, add to cart, one-click order, buy new and used, recommended items, specials, and everything else that I'm overwhelmed.  All I wanted was a repair manual for my truck!  I didn't need to fight through the promotions, ads, recommendations, and assorted other trash just to find that the wrong item ended up in my cart.  I finally had to close my browser and start over.  Amazon and I just weren't getting along in that browser session.

Buying from is like walking into a bookstore looking for a specific item or items, and being continually interrupted by salespeople who jump into your path and scream "Look!  Buy this now!" while gesturing wildly with a book that's peripherally related to something I bought in the store five years ago.  Maybe I'll start shopping at Barnes & Noble's online site.