The best interface?

[from Tomalak's Realm] In "The Net Effect: May the Best Interface Win!", Simson Garfinkel talks about Amazon's prevailing reign as the eCommerce site with the most commonly borrowed interface model. He discusses the prevalance of the Amazon shopping cart (was Amazon the first to use it?) and the personalization stuff that goes on in the background to enhance the user experience. I agree that Amazon's visual interface language is one of the most commonly recognized on the Web [See also: The McDonalds/Amazon effect], and probably is the most usable, but I have a hard time with everyone just saying, "follow Amazon's model", particularly when it comes to interface design. Amazon's model is not appropriate for every type of site. The problem is that it probably has the greatest mind/market share when it comes to ecommerce models, so everyone wants to imitate it. Yahoo! also vies for the spot as most commonly used site, and I've seen its Personalization/Customization model borrowed all over the place on corporate portals. But examine the poorly conceived and executed interface of MyYahoo! [which is well deconstructed by Webreview, 30 April 1999]. You have to be careful when your client or IT team starts saying, "We want MyYahoo! or Amazon's interface." I just need to remind myself to be sure that the model I use or create for interfaces is appropriate to the intended use and audience. That's a statement I never hear in these discussions of Amazon and Yahoo!.