Is Amazon.com intentionally hard to use?

Amazon is a huge shopping site, so you’d think accessibility would be a top priority. Yet these annoyances still exist:
[ul]
[li]They hide the fact that there are other sellers are selling the same thing.[/li][li]No filtering for sellers.[/li][li]If you use filters, the suggested seller may not match these filters.[/li][li]You can’t sort by price+shipping - yet eBay can.[/li][li]Shipping calculator sometimes exists, sometimes it doesn’t.[/li][li]You can’t find out what department(s) an item is in if it’s not a bestseller.[/li][li]Don’t even get me started on shipping overseas.[/li][/ul]

I don’t think these can’t be fixed, either coding or budget-wise, so I suspect they’re intentional. But why would they make their own site difficult to navigate? Perhaps confuse people into staying longer? Spending more?

Is Amazon.com hard to use? I’ve never found it so. I do a LOT of shopping there, and find it wholly amenable. Never had a serious problem, and the very few minor problems I’ve had, they’ve fixed right up. Hard to use? Not a bit of it!

I don’t know if there’s a factual answer, but it seems to be designed to be frustrating. Many other online sites allow you to filter for just items sold by the company in question (Best Buy and Walmart, for two examples) so you don’t have to see other sellers’ items show up, but Amazon won’t. It won’t even let you sort by their price when sorting from high to low, low to high, or in a dollar x to dollar y range.

You can absolutely filter by only Amazon.com seller. I just tried it myself. Choose the “seller” filter.

There’s a seller filter? Do you see it for, say, this: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=kindle ?
Add “Seller filter appears inconsistently” to the list.

Do you pay attention to which seller you’re buying from? I’m not saying their service is bad - it’s one of the best - but their website is so odd and tortuous that I can’t believe it’s accidental.

Additional filters appear after you choose a department (note it says “choose a department for more options”). At that point the seller option appears. For the specific link you had, I just chose the Kindle Store, which will only be Amazon. However if I choose “Electronics”, yes, I see the seller option.

Fwiw, I find the website very easy.

Similarly, you also get options to sort by price (high to low or low to high) after you choose a department, and it notifies you at the top of the page to pick a department in order to open up more sorting options.

Like you can here, is that what you mean?
Plus eBay is one of the most unfriendly companies around, so be careful when comparing!

My biggest pet peeve is that they force you to pick a department before sorting. And that means that you’ll now exclude a bunch of items that were maybe mislabeled. And when you do sort Low to High, you have to wade through pages of accessories only peripherally related to the item you want, all for $2.

Amazon.com isn’t so much designed as accreted. they worship at the altar of the A/B test which means that any department can propose to add anything they want to a page and, so long as it passes the A/B test, it goes live.

Because there’s no one person responsible for the overall look of the site and there’s hundreds of departments that have a say on the matter, the site ends up looking like a hodgepodge of random elements.

Amazon knows this is a problem and they’re working on rectifying it but it’s not exactly clear what the best way to do so is since it’s such a thicket of internal politics.

No, I am pretty sure it is intentionally as easy to use as they are able to make it (which, however, may not be as easy as you can imagine in your wilder fantasies). The easier it is to use, the more money they make, so they put a lot of effort into that.

It is by some distance the most user friendly (and glitch free) online shopping site I have ever used. There is a reason they are so successful. Sure, they are not perfect, and the site will not do everything anyone might want it to do, but that just underlines the point that making well functioning, large scale, high traffic complex interactive web sites is hard. Why do you think healthcare.gov was such a clusterfuck when it opened? Because nobody cared?

Incidentally, I have never wanted to sort things by seller and find it hard to imagine why anybody else would want to. It does not surprise me that it is not a function they prioritize.

I do wish, however, that they would improve their sort by price, cheapest first function. When I try to use it it generally fills the first page or so with cheapie bits and pieces that are not actually the item I searched for at all, but accessories to it, or things otherwise vaguely related. As sort by relevance works fine, it seems to me this ought to be fixable. Just show me the cheapest things that are actually relevant!

I want to sort among different items. The reason for sorting is wanting to find the cheapest item that does the job, not the cheapest seller. (Sometimes it’s your case, though)

The necessity of choosing a department reinforces my point - how do you find out what department an item is from?!

There’s a list to the side with all the departments your results list falls into, with how many items in each department. Pretty straightforward.

I’m not a fan of the departments either, but most items are cross listed and it’s pretty obvious which department is the most logical, with the stuff I buy, I guess. Ultimately the only filter I use is Prime Eligible.

  1. To save on shipping costs (again, no displaying of shipping costs in search results)
  2. To reduce number of shipments
  3. Because I’ve already found a seller that ships overseas and want to stick to that one
  4. Because I have a favorite seller
  5. Because some sellers are untrustworthy

Another problem: they group items with different characteristics (size, color) from different sellers and return the whole group if only one matches your search.

Huh, I had no idea there was another thread complaining about Amazon in IMHO. I only thought of this thread after searching for my watch on Amazon (although I had been complaining to myself for a few months). Another of those odd coincidences.

Amazon does many things—more, I’m pretty sure, than any other single commerce site. Some of those things it does extremely well. It sounds like the things you want it to do aren’t necessarily its strongest points.

Both Amazon and Ebay have their own pros and cons. I don’t think it’s all intentional. People tend to be at least somewhat myopic. You’d think corporations would be less so because of the breadth of input that comes from consisting of a large conglomeration of people. However, most of a corporation’s employees will have little to no real say in how the company operates, so the myopia of its corporate heads can usually prevail.

For example, Amazon for the past decade always had a tab at the top of the screen that you could always click to return to its main page. For whatever reason or lack thereof, the main page tab recently was moved from the top of the seller’s page to an url that you have to scroll down to and click on at mid-page. While I kind of doubt it was an intentional act of making their website just a little more difficult to navigate, clearly someone somewhere in the the Amazon chain overlooked the ease of use of having a main page tab at the top of the screen as many Amazon sellers also just so happen to be Amazon buyers. Ebay has many little, annoying, nonsensical design features too such as placing the “forgot your password” url between the sign-in fields and sign-in button. Since forgetting one’s password is an infrequent occurrence, it should be placed after the sign-in button so that you don’t have to tab past it every time you sign in.

I can do all the things that OP lists on Amazon. The most user-unfriendly thing I regularly confront is the impossibility to return to the shopping cart at the end of the purchase funnel (the final page before confirming purchase, the one that shows the shipping totals!)

This one is definitely deliberate. Amazon published data ages ago that stripping checkout pages of any links except checkout increases conversion.

Pray tell, what department does http://www.amazon.com/Monoprice-Universal-Electronics-Organizer-110074/dp/B00DIGCD7G/ belong to and how do you find out?