The Noisy Channel


Window Shock

October 28th, 2008 · 5 Comments · Uncategorized

I just read about an experimental storefront from Amazon called WindowShop. It takes exploratory search to its extreme, not providing users with any means to search or navigate beyond scrolling and zooming. Here’s a screenshot, though you need to go the site to get the full immersive experience.



I’m usually a fan of exploratory search interfaces, but I confess I’m underwhelmed. The interface has been compared to the Borders Magic Shelf, but I think Borders achieves a much better balance of serendipity and user control. Curious to hear what folks here think.

5 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Daniel Lemire // Oct 28, 2008 at 5:47 pm

    I actually like it a lot. Impressive!

    It probably works well to sell the fat end of the long tail.

    I say that more diversity is better. As long as we have different ways to navigate the data… I doubt that Amazon means to replace their main page with this toy.

  • 2 Daniel Tunkelang // Oct 28, 2008 at 9:31 pm

    Vive la différence! In any case, I suppose I’m not their target audience. I don’t even like iTunes Cover Flow.

  • 3 Daniel Tunkelang // Oct 29, 2008 at 1:23 am

    I like Stephen Arnold’s take:

    I have often asserted that search is dead. I did not say that search was not useful. Amazon believes it has cracked the code on information retrieval without asking the user to type in the title of a book or an author’s name. Amazon wants to be a combination of Apple and Google. Amazon may have to keep trying to manage this transition.

  • 4 Whit Andrews // Oct 29, 2008 at 1:40 pm

    OK, I freely admit I’m with you on this, but even more so, Daniel. That’s like hold music for your credit card! If I had no idea what I wanted to buy, I WOULD NOT BE SHOPPING. I love many of the Amazon innovations, such as the lists and gift registries, and the categories, and the expansions and the collaborative filtering. But this one, I don’t get.

  • 5 Daniel Tunkelang // Oct 29, 2008 at 1:53 pm

    “Hold music for your credit card”–you’ve made my day. Now I have to stop laughing and get back to work on my slides!

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