Friday, April 24, 2009

Authors where are you?

Alright. there are many points I could make about the experience I just had but this is the one (ok, maybe two) I'm choosing.

Amazon doesn't have pages for authors and this is confusing and problematic for people. The best evidence I can give you without doing some user research is found right on the site in plain view, so why haven't they fixed it?

This is what I discovered while trying to find a list of books by a particular author.

You can't click on an Authors name and get a list. Some of the big Authors names are hot and these took you to a search results list, not an Author page. This is kinda good but really actually bad because it breaks the pattern. If one Author name is hot, they should all be hot or you start to think you are going crazy.

I thought...this can't be right, maybe I'm missing something (please tell me if I am). So I search for Authors and look at the suggestions! I'm sure these are generated by the most commonly searched terms.

Seems other people are trying to find this illusive author page and list of authors

Now being in the web industry I can see a few reasons why they do this, but what seems so interesting is that they have diverted so far away from creating an experience that mirrors the physical world. Book stores are organized by author. I wonder what the larger impact of all this is?

Whatever the impact, it is lame and annoying. boo.


Corey Pressman April 24, 2009 at 5:23 PM  

'Author Pages' is a great idea. Enterprising authors could blog on these pages, post speaking schedules, etc...

tyesha April 24, 2009 at 5:53 PM  

Exactly! Thanks for the comment Corey.

Susan April 24, 2009 at 6:36 PM  

I've often waded through author search results (from clicking an author's name), and they aren't even sorted well. It's maddening. You would think it would be easy to throw together author pages from all the information they have. Users would be happy to help disambiguate. Failing that, Turkers could probably do it in a day or two.

The other annoying thing about not having author pages is that if an author has written a series, that would be the smartest place to put the dang thing -- in order. I'm always having to dig around to try to find out which book came before which. If Amazon won't number them and spit that out easily, they should let fans and authors sort out series on author pages.

Thanks for writing about this. I had never noticed that some author names were not clickable, but that's oddly bad too.

tyesha April 25, 2009 at 4:23 PM  

Great point about book series! Thanks Susan.

Anisa April 27, 2009 at 6:31 AM  

hey Tyesha! I came to see your blog, even though my husband had to explain to me what a UX designer does. Do you know Allison Beckwith?

tyesha April 27, 2009 at 4:41 PM  


I don't know her, but I just sent her a LinkedIn connection. She looks like someone I should know:) Thanks for stopping by.


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