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Re: Amazon Access

From: Al Gilman <asgilman@iamdigex.net>
Date: Mon, 24 Feb 2003 06:09:35 -0500
Message-Id: <5.1.0.14.2.20030224053102.028e3e30@pop.iamdigex.net>
To: "Isofarro" <w3evangelism@faqportal.uklinux.net>, "wai-ig list" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>

At 02:04 AM 2003-02-24, Isofarro wrote:
>I would expect to get the same search results no matter which front-end I
>used (since Amazon is largely a database driven website), but this seems not
>to be the case.

This is an unreasonable expectation.  To be able to get to all the offerings
is a basic access requirement.  That the search should identify the same
full bag of hits is probably a corrolary of this.  That different previews
with different shortList sizes should always show the same top three; this
is not an accessibility requirement nor is it really a reasonable demand.

The filtering to get the subset shown first is based on guessing, and it is
not unreasonable for the guessing to be sensitive to the size of the subset
that fits in the particular view and the likely user preferences that go
with variant user demographics per view.

To demand the first three in a first page that shows only three to be
identically the same as the featured three on a first page that shows ten is
neither necessary, nor on closer examination is it in the user interest.

Al

PS: one controversial source of differences: sniffing

People can debate the ethics of the "mixed initiative" priorities that are
applied to what comes up at the head of the list, here.  Even on Google you
get the sponsored links first.

The merchant's objective is to present you with something that you will
recognize as something you want to buy.  Before you tire of the chase.  Real
web wanderers are fickle, remember the conventional wisdom about how "if it's
not visible after three clicks, they're not going to find it."

So the site will apply everything it knows about you to guess your
preferences as to which of the hits you are more likely to want to buy.
These are just guesses, if you put clear logical guidance in the search, the
system will honor this.  But you can't totally fault them for including all
available information when they are left to guess.

The hypothesis that it's more in the user's interest to have the site guess 
than
not to let it guess is something that I've never seen a scientific study on.
But I wouldn't wager against it.

If you went to Amazon, you didn't want something that you wanted to buy to have
lain buried in the back room never passing through your "three clicks" of 
visit.
So consider a bit before you expect total lockstep between views with different
information capacity and user-cost-per-entry-scanned characteristics.

Al

>From: "David Poehlman" <poehlman1@comcast.net>
>
> > The address for the web site, discussed below is:
> > http://www.amazon.com/access
> > and it is easy to use, and nice and clean.
>
>This is a good example of the disadvantage of having a "text only" copy of a
>website for accessibility purposes. Apart from the argument that text-only
>versions enforce segregation there is the underlying problem of keeping two
>sites up-to-date.
>
>For example, from http://www.amazon.com/ and enter "Accessibility" as the
>keyword.
>Do the same for http://www.amazon.com/access
>
>For Books, the former returns:
>
>1.) Maximum Accessibility: Making Your Website More Usable for Everyone
>2.) CARM: California Accessibility Reference Manual
>3.) A Basic Guide to Fair Housing Accessibility: Everything Architects and
>Builders Need to Know About Fair Housing Act Accessibility Guidelines
>
>while the latter returns
>
>1.) Maximum Accessibility: Making Your Website More Usable for Everyone
>2.) Web Accessibility for People With Disabilities
>3.) Pocket Guide to the ADA: Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility
>Guidelines for Buildings and Facilities, Revised Edition
>
>
>I would expect to get the same search results no matter which front-end I
>used (since Amazon is largely a database driven website), but this seems not
>to be the case.
>
>Recalling from Joe Clark's book (which I'm reading at the moment) "Separate
>pages are not equal".
>
>
>Mike.
Received on Monday, 24 February 2003 06:09:45 GMT

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