Please note: This site's design is only visible in a graphical browser that supports Web standards, but its content is accessible to any browser or Internet device. To see this site as it was designed please upgrade to a Web standards compliant browser.
Signal vs. Noise

Our book:
Defensive Design for the Web: How To Improve Error Messages, Help, Forms, and Other Crisis Points
Available Now ($16.99)

Most Popular (last 15 days)
Looking for old posts?
37signals Mailing List

Subscribe to our free newsletter and receive updates on 37signals' latest projects, research, announcements, and more (about one email per month).

37signals Services
XML version (full posts)
Get Firefox!

Amazon gets even more Defensive

07 Jul 2004 by Jason Fried

I ran into a nice piece of Defensive/Contingency Design today on Amazon’s site. Here’s what happened… I placed an order, then placed it again because I forgot to use a $25 off coupon I had. My plan was to then cancel the first order. But, Amazon recognized that I just placed the same order twice so they wanted to check to see if that’s what I really wanted to do:

amazon dupe order

I know it’s cut off, and shrunk a bit, but is basically says: “Jason, you placed an order for these items a few minutes ago. Are you sure you want place the same order again?”

This is great Defensive Design — making sure I really wanted to do something unusual like placing the same order twice. Well done, Amazon.

14 comments so far (Post a Comment)

07 Jul 2004 | matthew said...

this is great. i'm curious, though - are those two options helpful? or did you really want a third option - to place this duplicate order and cancel the previous one. i can't read all of the text so my question might be irrelevant.

07 Jul 2004 | Don Schenck said...

Good thinking on someone's part.

I think that, too often, software is thrown together to get it out the door, without a proper study of use cases. This is a perfect example.

Not that it's a bad thing. On the contrary, get it up and running and then refine, refine, refine. Kudos for Amazon for refining their product.

07 Jul 2004 | BradNelson said...

I've seen order forms that actually block duplicate orders for 24 hours. Which can be annoying if you are intentionally placing two orders.

07 Jul 2004 | Chris O'Donnell said...

I did that once on Amazon and it wouldn't let me cancel the first order. Claimed it was in the shipping process 90 seconds after I clicked submit, and thus too late to cancel. I received both orders and returned the first one that shipped at the higher price.

07 Jul 2004 | KillAllDash9 said...

Not only a good feature for their customers, but it's also good for Amazon. I'm sure it will save them some money versus paying someone to handle an order cancelation or a returned item when someone places a duplicate order by mistake.

07 Jul 2004 | Edw. said...

Hey, glad to see you're buying the Dyson! It's worth every penny.

I have the "Animal" model and it's amazing how it devours pet hair from house and car.

07 Jul 2004 | Jason L. said...

I see you ordered a Dyson vaccum. I'm curious to hearing about how well these work - they seem to have a lot of hype and Hoover seems to have copied their bagless design, but $400 is a lot of dough for a vaccum. The reviews seem good and I've been tempted, but I've yet to justify the cost to myself.

07 Jul 2004 | JF said...

I'll post a review. I bought a refurbished Yellow model for about $250.

07 Jul 2004 | Blake Scarbrough said...

It is great how Amazon always seems to amaze me in anticipating what the visitor may be doing next.

And by the way, I have a Dyson and it works great, great design, great product. It is what we should all strive to do with products we work on, design and fuction.

07 Jul 2004 | hehe said...

JF, I would love to see a picture of your apartment. I imagine that there isn't a single thing that is "traditional"... all "designey" appliances and furniture. So, post one!

08 Jul 2004 | pb said...

Checkout design, while being one of the most important processes in all of the commercial web, still doesn't seem to get much press. I'm wondering what you all think are some of the better checkout processes, from a user or designer perspective. One I came across recently:

08 Jul 2004 | Martin said...

Here's an Amazon one for you: find the logout button/link on their site.

08 Jul 2004 | Mike M said...

Dysons are worth every single penny... Great deal on the refurbished one you're getting, by the way.

We have the Animal model and I don't know how we lived without it.

08 Jul 2004 | Don Schenck said...

Amazing. Ten years ago, Amazon was a river. Now, it's site number one for buying stuff.

Let that sink in. It's truly amazing.

Comments on this post are closed

Back to Top ^