March 5th, 2007
Every day now it seems that another web site “Goes Social”, which means they add social features like those found on social networking sites MySpace, Facebook, and Digg. The latest example is the national news site USAToday, which recently redesigned and added several social features including the ability to comment on stories, rate stories, and recommend stories to others. Here is a full list of the new features as described by the design team.
At UIE we’ve been watching social sites for a while now, and we’ve seen many social features, including the ones added by USAToday, become commonplace over the last few years. It comes as no surprise that large organizations are seeing the value of connecting their users in ever-beneficial ways like they’re trying to do at USAToday.
But even though big sites adding many social features at a time draws lots of attention, there is one site that is way ahead of everyone else, offering a myriad of social features that eclipses the field, hands down. That site is Amazon.com. Now, we’re not feature counters by any means, but we have seen the features on Amazon provide a tremendous amount of value to users during testing of the site. The product reviews, for example, are a huge advantage Amazon holds over other e-commerce sites…people really trust the reviews there compared to everywhere else. I wrote about this phenomenon in The Amazon Effect.
But just how social is Amazon, you ask? Well, pretty darn social. In a slide from the presentation I gave at the UIE Web App Summit, I outlined 11 social features on the iPod product page at Amazon. The slide wasn’t very effective, however, as it only contained small screen-shots of the features laid on top of one another. It didn’t show the scope of what Amazon was doing with social features.
I’ve now found a better way to visualize what Amazon is doing. The following is a screen-shot of the entire iPod product page at Amazon, with 16! social features highlighted throughout the page:
This is a clear indication that Amazon is making a huge investment in social features…and suggests that maybe it’s Amazon who should be getting the big press. Part of the reason why they don’t receive lots of press, of course, is that Amazon releases features one-at-a-time…slow enough that it creeps up on us.Tweet