I recently noticed some differences in amazon.com and Amazon.in. In amazon.com when you click on Departments a dialog opens on a dark transparent overlay while amazon.in does not have a dark background overlay.

What is the reason behind it? and why is there two different terms in both sites " Departments" and "Shop by category"

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3 Answers 3


It's all about UX research and then it's implementation.

Amazon is a global brand, but the issue which comes with a worldwide reach is that you cannot just have a common strategy for everyone as one strategy might be working wonders in one country whereas producing negative results in another.

Hence global companies like Amazon, they run researches countrywide separately to induce UX and UI which is more culture fit.

The thing which you have noticed is very subtle but might have a lot of impact behind the screens in analytics.

Why amazon.com has this dark overlay and why amazon.in doesn't have are all due to user research results. They will make changes which will help them to convert more people if the change doesn't show positive results in the analytics, there are chances that it gets reverted.

They are always running experiments and changes in country-specific domains, earlier amazon.in was in orange theme, but then they changed it to the one like amazon.com and then introduced amazon prime.

So it's all about how you introduce your product in a different market with a better understanding of the native target audience.

For more understanding that why a culture fit UX-UI is required, go through this article: https://blog.prototypr.io/ux-design-across-different-cultures-part-1-1caa12a504c0

Thanks, hope I helped with your query.

  • my question here is will keeping dark transparent overlay helps user focus on content on modal or will it not ?
    – Harshith
    Oct 25, 2017 at 7:07
  • 1
    Yes, my friend, it helps in better focus on the drop-down, now why amazon.in hasn't done this yet? Probably because native designing teams are different, they don't find making this change much effective in India, or haven't even conducted any research regarding it. Oct 25, 2017 at 7:14

Could be multiple reasons:

A/B testing

Its possible that amazon is testing different approaches and you were put in one of the test-buckets, facebook does this really often for example, it happens a lot that my facebook looks different then the facebook of my girlfriend, especially when new functions get released.

Different people/teams at work

Its probably not the same team working on both pages, thats why it might be a reason that we see different wording and layout used, maybe amazons guidelines aren't accurate enough for stuff like this.

Since most users will either browse amazon.com or amazon.in its not a big thing in my opinion, thats why it might get overlooked.

The version with the dark overlay is obviously better since the user will be able to focus to what he clicked, amazon.com uses this method on every other dropdown as well (Language, Sign In, Try Prime) etc.

  • but which interaction would you prefer is best ?
    – Harshith
    Oct 25, 2017 at 7:38
  • I think this is the more likely answer. I doubt any user research stated that users of one domain preferred a dark overlay and users of another preferred none. Its much more likely (in my experience) that the two have separate teams or separate code bases and this is just a minor difference that is either overlooked or they don't worry about right now as they certainly have a stack of more pressing projects.
    – DasBeasto
    Oct 26, 2017 at 13:25
  • You forgot one possibility - user expectation of the market the specific UI is targeting. Oct 26, 2017 at 13:48

It all starts here, Kilometer and Miles, Liters and Gallons, Celsius and Fahrenheit etc., Huge organizations focus on localization, they try to understand the local market (users/customers) and deliver as such to make better business, One size doesn't fit all, In UK, People prefer to read Half Price, whereas in India, they say 50% Off.

Online Portal screenshot

That is how, 'Department' and 'Shop by Category' labels must have been arrived and we have classic method 'Card Sorting', which will give a solid proof for the organization to action on.

Modal window/Transparent backgrounds are used, so that users can (Comfortably)/will (Forcefully) focus only on the available items, there is lesser distraction.

Obviously Amazon must have made a lot of testing to understand users and come up with this interaction, Since Amazon does that, it may not work the same way for their competitors, Each organization should learn about their user's behavior, try A/B Testing periodically to build such interactions.

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