Saturday, January 27, 2007

Tip for Amazon Designers: Lots of Folks Don’t Know How to Exclude Gifts from Recommendations

Even Amazon needs to improve some UX ...

"Amazon should make the ability to remove purchased items from recommendations much more apparent.

Rashmi Sinha gave a great talk on Recommendation Systems at the UIE Web App Summit yesterday. I was like a kid in a candy store…it’s one of my favorite topics and Rashmi is a true expert on the topic.

At one point in the discussion following the talk, someone in the crowd described a situation that many of us are familiar with: we buy a gift for someone at Amazon and then all of our recommendations are colored going forward. If we buy a biography of Abraham Lincoln for a family member, for example, the system starts to recommend other biographies and maybe other books about the Civil War. This is not the desired result…because it’s not us who is interested in Lincoln but our family member.

This happens because Amazon uses all of the items we purchase as considerations for its recommendation system, by default, even though some of them shouldn’t be. (it could be that when you check “this is a gift” during a purchase that the item isn’t used for recommendations, but I rarely check that when ordering a gift anyway, and it’s not clear either way)

When the person was done narrating this story, everyone in the room groaned in unison. We’ve all had that happen, and it’s a frustrating part of an otherwise consistently good experience at Amazon."    (Continued via Bokardo)    [Usability Resources]

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