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Amazon Revolutionises Online Shopping Interface

Gordon Kelly


Amazon Revolutionises Online Shopping Interface

Online retailers are forever trying to think up ways to tempt us into heading over to their stores and parting with increasing amounts of cash and in this ever more nasty credit crunch/global financial oblivion/Christmas run-up their motivation has never been stronger. So could this be the best attempt yet...?

Leaping into the future by returning to the past (it'll become clear, trust me) Amazon has today unveiled 'WindowShop' a remarkably impressive Flash based 3D err, window shopping-esque experience, which allows users to scroll around new music, bestselling video games, movies, TV shows, new books and audiobooks, the highest ranked material ever on Amazon and staff recommended content in categories such as 'Music Artists We Think You Should Hear'.

On the surface of course it all sounds rather gimmicky and to an extent it is. On the other hand the execution is flawless with near instant loading times, fast streaming of audio and video as you browse and silky smooth scrolling that would put iTunes Cover Flow to shame. Perhaps even more importantly, I found the process engrossing and certainly spent more time browsing than I should expected compared to clicking on each link, loading each page and streaming content as I would on a traditional online store.

In true Last FM/Pandora style, WindowShop will even happily scroll about in the background playing clips from the latest content if you let it and that alone has just seen me become rather excited about the Shins' latest album 'Wincing the Night Away' (2007) - which I didn't even realise was out... the shame!

Naturally the UI has its limitations and WindowShop won't help you find specific content - there isn't even a search engine - but for those looking to explore the latest and most recommended content it offers a surprisingly immersive experience.

Could this be the start of a revolution in the online shopping experience? Maybe, maybe not - but for a first beta Amazon WindowShop is a remarkable step in the right direction...


Amazon WindowShop


October 28, 2008, 4:22 pm

Preeeeeety slick.


October 28, 2008, 5:39 pm


Works nicely, but looks horrible.


October 28, 2008, 5:43 pm

@Darfuria - madness! That's the ONE THING it can't be accused of!


October 28, 2008, 7:44 pm

Horrible concept.


October 28, 2008, 7:54 pm

@piesforyou - so thought I initially, but try using it for 10 minutes...


October 28, 2008, 8:15 pm

Very interesting, don't know if I'd come back to it after a couple of uses. Not sure if it will revolutionise online shopping, but maybe it's one step closer to Minority Report-style interfaces. I can also see this working quite well on the iPhone and game console/TV displays.


October 29, 2008, 12:40 am

How pretty :) The cooliris plugin (http://www.cooliris.com/) for firefox/IE has done a similar thing for a long time though....

Martin Wainika

October 29, 2008, 1:01 am

I saw shopping has been added to Cooliris (now that's how to make browsing visually stunning). Looks similiar, but no music or video when you select dvd or cd


October 29, 2008, 2:33 am

Great interface. These style is only going to get better until it is revolutionised again. Anything that gets us away from the typical PC / MAC way of viewing content and more into how we really want to see things is a huge improvement.

It is all about the user / consumer, not the platform.


October 29, 2008, 5:49 pm

It's in flash, that automatically makes it bad. For a start, if you find something you like the look of you can't copy and paste the title without going through to amazon's product page. It also means none of the usual browser shortcuts work either.

There are also numerous problems with it right now like some of the items having unreadable titles (books especially) and no way to see what format the games are for or any way to choose one of those formats before going to the product page.

So, bad implementation and bugs aside, is it a good idea? Well it's essentially just a release calender like other sites have had for years with the genres mixed together and some bestseller lists thrown in. I think it could be useful for some people as it is, but I'd like some way to exclude the catagories I'm not interested in (movies, TV and music) and perhaps organise it a bit more before I'd find it useful.


October 30, 2008, 6:10 am

I have to echo Xiphias' comments. Pretty, not practical.

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