Things that keep me up at night: signing into Amazon

October 29, 2009 in Internet

If you head over to Amazon, you may see this at the top of your logged-out screen:

Amazon sign-inNow, there are times when you hyperlink nouns. In fact, most hyperlinks are on nouns, since they lead to more information on the thing referenced (think of the Wikipedia model). Sometimes, it is more appropriate to hyperlink a verb, in particular when interacting directly with users: log in, sign out, click here, etc.

Amazon's hyperlink choice really bothers me. I expect to click the verb "sign in," parallel to the later imperative, "start here." Instead I'm clicking on a noun, "personalized recommendations." I don't want recommendations, I want to sign in. In my mind, getting "personalized recommendations" is not the primary characteristic of the sign-in header (or of signing in, for that matter).

However, Amazon thinks it is - and upon signing in, the link changes to reflect that fact:

Amazon signed inTo me, this means that Amazon wants people to know about its recommendations so badly it is willing to flout expected linking behavior to highlight it. And you know what, it works - just look at this post. Nonetheless, I maintain that the sign in link should have the verb activated and I find it strangely unnerving.

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