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I am currently using Amazon and I noticed that when you mouse over a dropdown menu (e.g. "Shop by department" or "Your Account"), there is a slight delay before it brings up the menu. Most other websites with these menus load up instantly, so I am wondering why they chose to have a delay.

Every time I use one of these menus, I always end up clicking the menus (because of this delay I think), which brings me to an overview page.

Is this delay even needed? Is it a bad user experience having this delay?

  • Ralph, IMO it's just a technical screw-up. I believe they did not "want" it to have a delay; it's just poorly-done technically. My opinion. Interestingly I just asked a question about deliberately having delays, after a action-type button .. ux.stackexchange.com/questions/83277/… .. but I believe that is not at all the case here. Just crap programming! :) – Fattie Aug 28 '15 at 15:55
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    @JoeBlow I disagree. It's probably not accidental, it's intentional. Notice that if you hover over and immediately mouse out the menu doesn't pop up at all, so it's not a delay in the job running, it's likely because they know how annoying it is for menu's to constantly pop in when you're just exploring the page with the mouse. How many sites have you visited when you're reading something and accidentally mouse over the main nav and instantly the content is obscured by the popup menu? – JonW Aug 28 '15 at 16:11
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    I always have this issue too with Amazon. – DA01 Aug 28 '15 at 16:23
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The delay is by design, it's purpose is to avoid a jarring flashing of drop-down menus when the mouse moves across the page. The top level drop-down menus have a slight delay but submenus have less (or no) delay.

Amazon has done a ton of research on this and the website incorporates many nuanced tweeks. Here's a nice analysis from a couple years ago:

http://bjk5.com/post/44698559168/breaking-down-amazons-mega-dropdown

It's mainly about the nuanced behavior of the main mega-menu but it gives you an idea of the attention to detail Amazon applies to their site.

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