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I have an amazon wish list, actually I have four. One for each member of my family. Living away from extended family it is a great way to showcase interests to people far away. The only problem is that the Amazon wish list system sucks.
Problem 1: Order. The default listing for items are the most recently wished for item is at the top. By default, I don’t mean to mislead you into thinking you can permanently change the setting. You can only change it for that specific visit. How many people have computer confused family members that pick the thing on the top of the list because it must be the item they want the most. This is confusing and leads to a person getting something they wanted but not necessarily what they have prioritized.
Problem 2: No drill downs. Say I have an xbox 360 listed on my list. I also want some games so I put a few on the list as well. Because of problem one someone just popping in might not scroll all the way down to where the xbox is and may stop on Dead Rising 2 because it is a great game and is on sell. When you get your gifts you get a great game for a system you don’t own. Awkward. Drill downs from the xbox for xbox games would prevent this.
Problem 3: Not GUI enough. The wish list looks like the rest of the site and has unnecessary information. Full title descriptions, authors, or studios don’t really matter because the person that needs that information has already picked these items. There is also a lot of wasted space on the page. I am tempted to say just post pictures of the the items. You could do department categories and show the top 3 prioritized items from each department.
Problem 4: No expirations dates. Yeah, I want that copy of the movie of the year, so I put it on my wish list. I don’t get it for Christmas and end up renting it or buying it yourself. Chances are you forgot you put it on your wish list once the holidays passed. Most people only update the wish list at Christmas, but maybe someone saved the link to your wish list and wants to surprise you with a birthday present. Now you got something you were wanted for Christmas for your birthday, and it no longer is that important to you or you own it. Expiration dates that would automatically deprioritize an item or delete it would be easy and useful.
Amazon has made improvements to the wish list over the years, but it still looks the same as it did when I first created one years ago. It doesn’t seem to be a priority for them, though.