Amazon.com launched a newly redesigned version of its homepage
today recently. The redesign mostly focuses on the top and sidebar navigation -- actual product content pages are more or less the same. Amazon said the redesign was about "shopping, searching, saving, and buying." Really, that equates to better organization and an easier time getting around their large list of product categories. The redesigned Amazon also sports a softer color palette, some new large buttons, and a few more rounded edges -- perhaps taking a cue from the so-called web 2.0 design aesthetic that has permeated the web the past couple of years.
The most noticeable difference about Amazon's navigation is the consolidation of the category tree. Gone is the "See All Product Categories" hover menu, as is the overwhelming left hand side bar "Browse" menu that displayed all of Amazon's categories (41 at my last count -- though it could be more). In their place is a new "Show All Departments" menu that opens along the left side of the page and displays Amazon's category tree broken into 11 top-level departments.
Also receiving some consolidation in the redesign are the "Gifts & Wish Lists" and "Today's Deals" sections, which now group together multiple areas of the site. For example, the new Today's Deal drop down menu links to the Gold Box, Today's Deals, Outlet, and the Friday Sale sections, making it easier for users to navigate to those pages.
The Amazon home page can still be a tad overwhelming. At my count, I'm seeing over 40 product thumbnails on the main page right now, however the new design certainly does make it easier to navigate between stores and is a start at cleaning up the overwhelming number of links on that page. This is only an incremental change, but a good one in my opinion.
The new Amazon is currently rolled out in a testing phase, so not everyone will see it. Amazon has a page about the redesign here.