Web Users Crave Familiarity

Nick Usborne, in MarketingProfs, says "as much as we may hate to accept it, originality is usually the enemy of a smooth customer experience."

    The sad truth is, general Web users would love it if all our sites looked like Amazon.com. They'd immediately be familiar with the interface, they would know how to find what they wanted, and they'd find it a breeze to check out and complete the purchase.
He's talking specifically about customer familiarity with the language you use and with the interface you present on your web site. He thinks that moving your navigation to the right or using non-standard labels for objects like the home page link might cost your users some time and frustration. He says, "I don't have figures to prove my point, but my guess is that conversion rates drop off whenever you give a reader reason to pause." Figures would help make the argument convincing.

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Yet, saying things like "

Yet, saying things like "users would love it if all our sites looked like Amazon.com" serves no purposes. It alienates designers, and isn't even true to the point he is making. Websites do not have to look like Amazon. They have to behave like Amazon. IA and usability are really useful for visual designers, and require a new mindset for these people: we have to focus on helping them acquire this mindset. Statements like the above only serve to drive visual designers away. Darn!

Blog: poorbuthappy ease by PeterV

True enough. Problem solving

True enough. Problem solving on the web isn't a matter of slapping a look and feel on a database. If that were true, there would be no value in design or IA. I don't think many usability people would agree that one size fits all and that simply copying someone else's design well tested for their purposes would suit all other purposes.


I think that people say outlandish things just to get noticed. What better way to get people talking by saying things like "The sad truth is, general Web users would love it if all our sites looked like Amazon.com." or "Flash is 99% bad". The fact is, different information types need different approaches. I would never use an Amazon.com layout to present Health, Safety and Environment information or promote a single product (like a movie). There are lots of things we can learn from amazon, but i agree with jibbajabba, one size most definately doesn't fit all.