If you’ve used Amazon within the past few years, I hope you’ve stumbled on to the Gold Box.
The Gold Box is daily set of deals tailored to your interests, with what appears to be at least a 5% discount over the normal price. 5% might not seem like much, but when you’re mostly interested in a new Mac Pro and Nikon D300, it’s quite a lot :)
What I’ve noticed recently, is that the discussion topics at the bottom of the Gold Box have turned into a general community, irrespective of Gold Box deals.
- motherless at 5yrs old, anyone else? how did it affect you?
- How to dye gray hair?
- PB&J pancakes How do you make them? (communication side note – no punctuation separates this sentence but we read it as two separate because of the use of sentence case)
Why is this? How does design factor in? Specifically, what did Amazon do to encourage this?
(1) This ‘forum’ is not a separate site as most forums are. They tend to have their own unique URLs where you leave an area of interest (e.g. the Gold Box) and transition fully into the forum. Here Amazon has a forum ‘preview’, to show that there is a community in place with (mostly) relevant ongoing discussion.
(2) No extra steps are necessary to begin posting – not a single one. The text area at the bottom allows you to begin a new topic immediately. As you click into the Topic: field and begin typing, message components appear immediately below the topic.
No page navigation, refresh or other needless transition. Compare this to the flow over at macnn (not to target them specifically – I just happened to be there yesterday).
Now to be fair, when you are looking at an individual topic, there is a “quick post” section. However that is not the focus here – quickly creating a new topic is.
(3) Simple posting interface. Compare Amazon’s interface to the one in use over at macnn. I had to max out the browser window on my 30″ display and I still have a scroll bar.
If you make it easy for people to express themselves, it will happen.