Amazon redesigning site for tablets, report says

Online retailer focusing on mobile users with site overhaul, says Wall Street Journal

Online retailer Amazon.com is reportedly redesigning its Web site, which sells everything from books to electronics and handbags, with a focus on supporting tablet computer users.

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, Amazon is eliminating some buttons and enlarging the search box to better meet the needs of mobile users.

The redesigned site is only available to a small group of Amazon users at this point, the report said.

Amazon.com did not respond to a request for comment on the redesign.

Industry analysts say the redesign makes sense on two fronts.

First, it will appeal to the burgeoning tablet market. In addition, they said, the move comes at about the same time Amazon is expected release a tablet of its own.

"It makes sense," said Ezra Gottheil, an analyst with Technology Business Research. "Mobile-friendly [interfaces] look more current. More shopping will be done from PCs than from tablets for quite a while, but it makes sense to go in this direction."

Zeus Kerravala, an analyst with Yankee Group, agreed that it makes sense for Amazon to enhance the site with mobile users in mind. "People want to use Amazon wherever they are whenever they want," he said.

Gottheil said a redesign would be a good tie-in with a new tablet offering, and added that support for other tablets like Apple's iPad is crucial.

"Amazon's mobile audience will be iPads primarily, even if the Amazon tablet is very successful," Gottheil said. "IPads have the installed base. But you want your new product to show off your online store in the best possible light."

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her e-mail address is sgaudin@computerworld.com.

Read more about mobile and wireless in Computerworld's Mobile and Wireless Topic Center.

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