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Why Amazon’s Experimental Approach to Product Design is a Problem

By Sophia Mao

Paul Hollowell, one of the many “guinea pigs” of Amazon, bought a gadget called the Echo Look about 4 years ago. This camera device had the ability to snap photos and videos. It also included a unique service that allowed users to capture their daily outfits, catalogue them, and get style advice in real time.

The product worked great; it helped Mr.Hollowell pick clothes and save him time. However, recently he was notified by Amazon that the camera he bought for $200 and its app would soon cease to work. Amazon said they decided to discontinue this product because they put some of its features in other, more popular, products.

This is just one of the many stories of amazon customers who have been surprised with an unwelcome change to their amazon product.

Just recently, Amazon released a program called Sidewalk. Basically, anyone who is part of this network can share their internet connection with others nearby. If an amazon device is experiencing poor connection, it’ll connect to another amazon device nearby and share the bandwidth. It sounds like a great program, but security experts have warned people to opt out of it because there have been concerns that the device makers could have access to people’s private data.

It seems like Amazon has a never ending amount of failed or failing products.

Jeff Bezos, the company’s founder, once said that “failure and invention are inseparable twins.” He isn’t wrong; the more products Amazon experiments with, the more chance of a successful invention. This method has paid off in the long run for Bezos. Amazon’s constant production of new products and innovations might be beneficial to the company, but not so much for its customers.

Releasing these experiments to customers without putting enough effort into research or testing causes some problems. Releasing a bunch of products that will most likely eventually end up useless for the consumer can not only make customers angry, but also cause an environmental impact.

Many of these products get thrown out, usually ending up in landfills. Even if they’re recycled, they can’t be completely reused. Don Norman, the author of the book “The Design of Everyday Things,” insisted that protesting is the best option to convince Amazon to change its ways.

Sources: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/16/technology/personaltech/buyers-of-amazon-devices-are-guinea-pigs-thats-a-problem.html




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