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Amazon seems to try show you as many options as possible, each being an attempt to get you to click on something to buy. However I was surpised to see they limit the page width, in the image below you will see the gray squares left and right of the main page.

Why is that? Why not use the available space? Is the advantage of not using the real estate really out weighing the advantage of using it?

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    Please check this answer to see if it helps you ux.stackexchange.com/questions/104705/…
    – Devin
    Apr 3, 2023 at 17:00
  • It half answers it, it answers the layout part of the question, but I don't think the solution talks to the psycology of the more attempts to get a person to buy something the better Apr 4, 2023 at 6:34
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    Honestly, without speaking to the original designer, we will never know if it was something psychological or just a development cost constraint. I can point you in the direction of something called "Choice Paralysis" sometimes also called "Choice Paradox", "Decision Paralysis", or "Analysis Paralysis". Google any of those terms and you'll find one possible reason they might have used to limit the items you can see. Apr 4, 2023 at 11:35

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"Why was this made" is usually impossible to answer without asking the original decision maker(s). The only thing we can answer is "What effect does this decision have?"

As pointed out in the other thread linked in the comments, not using the full width has several effects:

  • It limits visual clutter
  • It preserves information hierarchy
  • It preserves structural consistency

In the case of the Amazon front page, this is desirable: As users, we read the hero banner ("fill your basket with joy") first, followed by a casual trickle of categories we can buy from. Each item needs enough room to breathe, so that we can form thoughts of "oh yeah, I wanted to buy something like this!". A screen too densely packed with information would hinder such thoughts from forming.


That said: None of this really matters that much. Resolutions of effectively 1920×1080px (4k screens at 200% scaling are identical to this) and below still make up the vast majority of screens, and Amazon is handling those sizes gracefully.

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