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Amazon allowing CSS customization

By Aaron Gustafson | August 16th, 2007 | Filed in CSS, Design

In a fairly interesting move, Amazon is now allowing aStores to be customized using CSS.

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This morning, Amazon announced that their aStore product (part of the selling tools available to folks enrolled in the Amazon Associates program) would allow full customization of the look and feel via CSS. Currently, the interface only allows for approximately 8000 characters of custom CSS, but that level of control is allowed on several of the page types, including product descriptions and search results. On top of that, users can also share these custom “themes” with others.

Of course, the underlying markup of the aStore product leaves a bit to be desired: it is a strange blend of DIVs and TABLEs that offers little semantic value. It’s also not valid HTML, but the validation errors are not difficult to overcome: missing DOCTYPE, unencoded ampersands, etc. (it should be noted, however, that the missing DOCTYPE does throw the page rendering into Quirks Mode, so keep that in mind if you decide to customize an aStore).

Implementation issues aside, the real story here is that a major corporation, like Amazon, is willing to relinquish some control over look and feel of one of their products and that they are using actual CSS to do it rather than relying on a series of color and font pickers (although that is still an option).

What are your thoughts? Would you like to see more products allow this sort of control? What are they doing right? What are they doing wrong? What could be improved? Personally, I’d like to have the ability to customize the markup (microformats anyone?) and then axe the default styles altogether. What about you?

Your Replies

#1 On August 16th, 2007 9:49 am