Amazon has a humongous navigation bar - a wasteful, extravagant, repetitive one

So returning to the Amazon website and how I would redesign it, let’s first take a look at what’s there.

Looking at the Home page as a UX designer rather than a consumer, I am surprised and intrigued why Amazon does not streamline this page. There is so much bloat and repetitiveness here, it is hard to believe that this is the home page of an e-commerce giant. This page looks like a neglected information-dump that appears to have escaped any critical eye at this company.

The weird thing is I noticed this monster-navigation only today, although I visit Amazon everyday as a buyer. The reason I missed it is simple: the full nabber that you see in the image below is visible only if you scale down the page substantially, in fact so substantially that the navigation is barley legible. 

At regular scale, the right-side elements of the navbar drop off.

Let’s see what I mean below:

Amazon's Full Humongous Navigation

The above navigation is visible if you scale down the page on desktop using the zoom out function in your browser. Remember that the navigation with the gray background is all on one level when seen zoomed out. Not only is that a mind-boggling navbar, it is also repetitive, and quite meaningless. 

Let’s examine each nav item in some detail (let’s ignore the hamburger menu for now):

  • My Amazon.com: This link leads to a page with a series of cards displaying my previous purchases with a Buy Again suggestion.
  • Customer Service: Why this is here, in an area that is prime real estate, befuddles me. We are used to looking for contact info or customer service in the footer section mostly. 
  • Buy Again: This page has information that mimics that on the My Amazon.com page
  •  Health & Household: The section on Amazon that I buy most from is this one. Kudos to Amazon for putting it in fourth place here after a bunch of inane links! Jokes apart, the truth is that I have no need for this entire navbar. Most times, if I am exploring a new purchase, I will use the very effective Search bar at the top; if it is a repeat purchase, I will simply go to my Orders page, search for the item there, and reorder.
  • Browsing History: This one is somewhat interesting to me. This page displays tiled products that I have browsed in the past, starting with most recent. Now here’s the piece is like: each product has two buttons below; one called ‘More Like This’ shows similar products along with their price and #of reviews, and also if it has Prime shipping. The second button says ‘Remove from View’. I think the More Like This button is quite helpful to check out alternate products like the one you browsed.
  •  Subscribe & Save: This is a mishmash page (with huge information overload) of various items in your history you may like to Subscribe and Save, and popular items that have been Subscribed most often. A very tedious page.
  •  Shopper Toolkit: a confusing page that seems to promote deals, and some other stuff.
  • Coupons: As the name suggests, this may be useful to coupon lovers. I have little need for most coupons since the products associated with most coupons at most supermarkets as well as Amazon are the massively popular ones that I do not necessarily use. In fact, an alternate way that Amazon offers coupons to me is much appreciated: when I am looking at the product page for an item I am interested in, just below the price, Amazon will provide a checkbox to apply any coupons that may be available for this product. I have used many a coupon this way, and love it. (One confusing aspect here is the checkbox I must check to apply the coupon to my purchase: why require checking a checkbox? I doubt there will be anyone who shops on Amazon who will say, nah, I don’t need this saving of $5 on a $19.99 product. My point is, just apply the coupon by default).
  •  Pharmacy: A landing page inviting one to check out how this feature works, and to sign up for a Pharmacy account.
  • Amazon Business: For businesses to purchase on Amazon
  • Fresh: For fresh produce, milk etc, all delivered the same day with some conditions applying
  • Whole Foods: To order from Whole Foods 
  • Amazon Home: A superfluous link to return to the home page
  • Prime: Another inane page
  • Find a gift: A mind-boggling page with assorted gift suggestions. There is no categorization ( such as for moms, or for teenagers); just one mega-collection of suggested items as gifts. Pretty much useless to my mind.
  • TV & Video: To buy TVs and videos, hmmmm.
  • Launchpad: Is this Amazon’s service for smaller brands? Is it a pay-to-play scheme for small brands to become visible on Amazon? Very likely, since Amazon must make money every time, is their philosophy.
  • Pet Supplies: Why am I seeing this, I have never bought pet supplies from them. But then their navigation is not a thoughtful one, it is one size fits all
  • Baby: again, why am I seeing this?
  • Livestreams: A bunch of video content from brands maybe?
So there, that is the mega Amazon navbar off their home page in a nutshell. If I were to decide the fate of this one, I’d say ‘Off with its head’. I have no use for any of these links.

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