December 10, 2012 | Kathy Totz

Mobile App Review: Amazon


Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn Share on Twitter

In this final ForeSee usability blog post, we will discuss Amazon’s mobile app. Like eBay’s app, Amazon Mobile carries over many of the features and functionality available on its full desktop site in addition to some clever mobile-only features. For example, customers can search for items not only by scanning a barcode, but also by simply taking a picture of the item with their smartphone’s camera:

The ForeSee Usability Team Reviews the Amazon Mobile App

Like eBay’s app, a major benefit of Amazon’s app is the seamless cross platform integration; existing Amazon customers maintain access to their recommended items, wish lists, and items added to the Cart in other sessions across devices:

The ForeSee Usability Team Reviews the Amazon Mobile App

Product pages on the mobile app contain the same high level of detail that the Amazon website is known for, complete with signature reviews:

The ForeSee Usability Team Reviews the Amazon Mobile App

Pleasantly, there are basically only good things to say about Amazon’s mobile app! It is highly optimized for the mobile experience and enjoys these key benefits:

  • The simple and streamlined layout and navigation makes it easy for customers to quickly and efficiently navigate the app.
  • Multiple modes of navigating to products, including conventional browse and Search and unique device-driven capabilities like UPC scanning and Snap a Picture, give customers options for how to find the product they want in the way that best makes sense for them.
  • Integration with the full site, as with eBay, is a huge benefit and draw for users of the mobile app. Customers can browse and add items to a cart or wishlist on one device, then finish the transaction on another. This cross device experience is very seamless.
  • Amazon’s signature One-Click Checkout is especially handy on the mobile platform, where data input is much more cumbersome.


While Amazon and eBay both attract a large audience of unique users, there is a significant difference in the average time spent on the app—while Amazon app users spend an average of about 18 minutes, eBay app users spend over an hour on average! What accounts for this difference when both apps include similar features and functionality?

One answer might be in the unique audience and products offered by each site. eBay customers may be more interested in browsing through large category listings to find the best deals, or are looking for unique or rare items that require more legwork (or fingerwork, in this case) to track down. The auction format can also be more time-consuming in general. Meanwhile, Amazon customers may prefer to be more efficient—find, click, buy, done.

It’s also important to note that time spent on any mobile app, or even website, is not a good metric of engagement or satisfaction. It might be the case that customers who spend a lot of time on a site are highly engaged and happy with the site, and thus wish to spend more time on it. However, it could also be that they are having trouble navigating the site, deciding between items, or finding products that will work for them, in which case they will have a poor site experience and low level of satisfaction despite seemingly large amounts of time spent and high engagement. Without satisfaction data, we cannot make assumptions about whether eBay app customers are truly having a better site experience than Amazon app customers; the only real way to know how satisfied your customers are—to inform the metric of time spent—is to measure it independently.

If you’ve used any of the apps we’ve reviewed or have experience designing mobile apps, we’d love to hear from you! Feel free to comment below or send us an email.

Here are the rest of the posts in this series:

Categories: Uncategorized,Usability

About the Author

Kathy Totz, ForeSee Senior Usability Analyst, conducts usability evaluations for financial services, retail, technology, telecommunications, and health care clients. She holds an MS in Information from the University of Michigan, specializing in Human-Computer Interaction. She also earned a BS in Psychology and Cognitive Science from Illinois Wesleyan University, where she published several peer-reviewed research studies.

More by this author


Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn Share on Twitter