Like an old car company, Amazon introduces its design updates slowly and seldomly, updating one piece at a time, and never rocking the boat too fast or hard to upset its mainstream audience. In fact, according to Wayback archives, it’s been about decade, maybe more, since they’ve changed their login screen–something that’s become a regular part of our digital lives. But a new version seems to be showing up for users now.
You could call the new page streamlined. Or you could call it 33% simpler due the fact that it has one less option to worry about. Or you could even point out that its more vertical, card-based design is more appropriate for mobile screens, like phones and tablets, than the old, wilder version made for the PC era.
But to do any of that overlooks a cultural artifact that’s about to be lost in the name of efficiency. Amazon’s login screen was designed for a digitally naive era–one where Amazon’s uber internet dominance wasn’t a sure thing, and one where the user base that was less comfortable with esoteric logins and passwords. So Amazon asked “what is your email address” and had a charmingly straightforward field next to the login “my email address is:”.
Today, “login” and “password” are part of the lexicon, of course. And Amazon has ~200 million customers (vs about 1/10 that in 2000), so maybe they can get by without asking every single visitor whether or not they have an Amazon.com account. Even still, we’ll miss you, old Amazon login screen, and the sometimes stupid memories we made together.