As of this morning Amazon has no tabs. There are no tabs at Amazon. Tabs, which have dominated the masthead at Amazon since it’s earliest days as a simple retailer of the written word, are gone. They are no more. That is to say, the method of navigation that Amazon single-handily mastered through years of information architectural study and graphic design refinement have been removed from the site.
If you can find a tab in new design at Amazon then consider yourself a living witness to the history of interactive design.
What this means for the world, I am uncertain. What this means for online design, well my friend, that is the Million-dollar question. Tabs have been around since the earliest construct of World Wide Web but it was Amazon who perfected it’s use as a navigation scheme for more than a decade, spending hundreds-of-thousands-of-dollars (perhaps Millions!) research and design. I can only assume that this decision is the result of careful study by many scientists, designers, and mathematics experts from all over the world. Possibly ending an era of navigation through a secret vote conducted in Geneva, Switzerland.
I can tell you that it will take a while for this to sink in. For so many years the tabs have always been there, starting with a few in the late nineties, multiplying like rabbits during the dawn of this new century, and trimmed to a more manageable and handsome looking group in recent years. Now they are gone, most likely, forever.
Oh, and the hue of blue used across the top has changed too. Amazon says it’s “slightly more fetching” but I don’t see it.