More Pseudo-Amazon Layout Fun
December 3, 2000 2:57 PM   Subscribe

More Pseudo-Amazon Layout Fun It used to amaze me that people have entire careers based on ripping off others. Now it's just standard (I apologize for the thousandth post of an tabs comment). The site actually looks like the old Amazon interface hooked up with the current Altavista site, and created some bizarre, overly-influenced mélange.
posted by Hankins (12 comments total)
Someone should be archiving all the amazon influenced tabs sites for some sort of "How-To Lack Originality" seminar, or even a web pop-art gallery. I realize and support that tabs are very effective in terms of usability and organization; however, creating almost identical replicas of another company's site seems pretty crappy to me. Am I the only one?
posted by Hankins at 3:00 PM on December 3, 2000

Sure some sites clearly and blatantly rip off design ideas from others like Amazon, and the site in question here does appear to have inspiration in a cross between Amazon and Altavista, but the current train of though seems to be "Amazon invented the tabs concept." Tabs were around long before Amazon. Should we accuse Jeff Bezos of ripping off the creator of manila envelopes? The tabs theme gives a lot to site navigation and I would expect more than a few people to find the idea useful. As long as it isn't an outright copy, I see no problem.
posted by tomorama at 3:07 PM on December 3, 2000

I think "ripping off" is just the wrong language to use. If the use of ui element [x] was precluded just because some site had already used it, then we would have had like 5 new sites per year since 1997. It's not art.

I can see how people with backgrounds in "print design" (read "visual arts") would consider their work an "original" and therefore sancosanct, but in the world of UI design, standardization is a good thing, and though protection is sometimes claimed for novel creations to solve difficult problems (viz., Adobe v Macromedia) it's better if we can all just learn to share. Thank god there weren't patents and other intellectual property laws at the time of the invention of mathmetics, the compass, the plow, the movable-type printing press, etc.

So, when you ask "am I the only one?", the answer is no. You're in the overwhelming majority. But you are all wrong :)

(Also, besides the use of #FFCC00 and a search box, I can't see any similarity between this site and any version Alta Vista I remember.)
posted by sylloge at 3:27 PM on December 3, 2000

I seriously doubt was the first to come up with the ground breaking tabs interface. I've seen it being done in file cabinets from the day I was born.
posted by howa2396 at 4:48 PM on December 3, 2000

I agree that tabs are an effective use of navigation and hierarchical organization. It's a familiar concept, much like the "folders" of that is simple to even very primitive users of computers or the Internet. I don't, however, agree that "the amazon tab set" should in any way become a standardized concept used to facilitate an easier UI for the web. UI should be easy and usable, yes, but certainly not uniform. One can have usable tabbed design without looking like I would dread having to buy things online if every e-commerce venture shared the same UI, let alone shared amazon's UI.

Tabs can be useful, but subscribing to amazon's tabset as a standard UI for the web would make the web obnoxious.
posted by Hankins at 4:58 PM on December 3, 2000

When I posted about I wasn't just referring to the tabs, I was referring to the entire site.

Compare everything from the shopping cart icon to the Safe Shopping Guarantee text to the Help Desk page, etc. I attempted to include links for these items, but my browser crashed so I'm not gonna try again.
posted by gluechunk at 5:06 PM on December 3, 2000

Isn't one of the goals of the whole usability movement to make website have standardized interface elements so the sites can all work in a similar manner. If we follow thier logic then all commerce sites should have a design that is remarkably similar. That way we know where the shopping cart link is located.

Do we want a standardized interface or do we want orginal graphic design?
posted by captaincursor at 5:33 PM on December 3, 2000

I don't think it's a question of what we want, Captain; it's a question of what consumers are going to be most comfortable with. Personally, I don't think they expect a website for an electronics store to look anything like a website for buying pet supplies, any more than they expect a "real world" electrionics store to look like a pet store. Some UI experts feel differently, but then they think every hypertext link on the entire World Wide Web should be blue, so, YMMV. The things that can be standardized to a large extent have been - after all, I would think there's only so many ways to design a "Bill To Address" page.
posted by m.polo at 5:51 PM on December 3, 2000

My favorite Amazon clone is the I Love Lucy Library.
posted by rcade at 6:02 PM on December 3, 2000

I like this proposed Amazon interface from Dack.
posted by waxpancake at 7:36 PM on December 3, 2000

God, I wish Amazon had patented this subject thread too.
posted by lagado at 8:13 PM on December 3, 2000

hey this site has text just like mine...can't you guys be more original? shit..........
posted by physics at 9:58 PM on December 3, 2000

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