Tom Cripps I’m somebody who gets distracted easily. Sometimes this can get in the way of what I need to do, but sometimes, just sometimes, it pays off. This is one of those times.

I’m sure all of you have heard of amazon.co.uk the online purveyor of anything imaginable. What I noticed while I was browsing their site the other day totally distracted me from what I was searching for, to the point that I’m still not sure what it was I was trying to buy! Their product menu is so well thought out it’s almost magical, real Harry Potter level stuff:

amazon_menu_gif

Simply put, it’s just good design, and something you wouldn’t normally notice – when you hover over the main menu on the left-hand side, it changes content in the panel on the sub-menu on the right-hand side.

A potential problem arises when you need to get your cursor from the bottom of the left-hand list to the top of the right-hand list. Your most direct path takes you over some of the other items in the main menu, which should then change the content in the right-hand list you are aiming for – but this is where the magic comes in!

The menu detects which direction your cursor is travelling and prevents the main-menu, and in turn the sub-menu, from switching. If however you pause, or change the direction your cursor is travelling, it ‘unlocks’ the main menu again and allows it to change. You can watch this in action above (and maybe even have a go yourself!).