A User Experience Story: Amazon’s Catch Me If You Can

Avi Chudasama
Apr 28, 2019 · 4 min read

In 2002, Steven Spielberg released a famous Hollywood movie, Catch me if you can, inspired by the life of Frank Abagnale. He is an American Security Consultant who was a notorious con man in his early career. A Major airline carrier, Pan Am, estimated that between the ages of 16–18, Abagnale flew more than 1,000,000 miles on more than 250 flights and flew to 26 countries being a fake pilot……So you get the gist.

Amazon.com got inspired by this story and decided to represent it again. They are calling it: Catch ‘Deactivate Account’ if you can

The movie was launched a few years ago when ‘Deactivate Account button’ had gone rogue and decided not to follow any User-Centric Design laws under the influence of intentionally bad User Experience Design. Some gangsters call this behaviour — Dark UX Patterns.

Meeting our protagonist

Image Credits: Facebook

‘Deactivate account’ used to be part of account settings options which made it easily reachable by users. Over time, it almost became a norm and users started to find it more often. Here comes our protagonist, who challenged all this status quo and started this interesting adventure.

User’s quest for clues

Like any great detective novel, Amazon expects the user to find hidden clues and patterns. Our detective, the user, embarks this journey to find the deactivate account option from Amazon.com’s settings page.

Based on his previous web-surfing experience, the user thought that it should be somewhere in the settings page. When he clicked on this page, it looked like this:

User: “I know this one before, it should be somewhere in Login & Security”

(After Clicking on Login & Security)

User: “Oh no! It’s a dead-end.”

Like a seasoned detective, the user investigated each of the 24 options presented by Amazon; from Your orders to Amazon pay balance, from Apps and more to Subscribe & Save, but no luck. Now, our user was frustrated and there was only one option left- calling his best friend for answers.

User seeks counselling

Although, there were several friends who can help our user with specific problems like Quora, Wikihow, StackOverflow and Youtube. But our user wanted someone who knows every domain and hence, he called Google.

User: “Nice…Amazon.com itself left the clue for Closing the account. Rookie Mistake!”

But as our user clicked on the first link:

User: “Ohh…No sign of Deactivate Account….it was a trap”

Serendipitous encounter

After this tiring experience, our user went to a cafe to meet his old friend Youtube. While discussing everyday stuff like trending videos and the latest music, user discussed this ‘deactivate account’ issue from work.

Youtube: “Aha! You are not the only one my friend. Approx 400k people were looking for the same culprit. Check out this video

Hiding in plain sight

This video explained a multi-layered process to find ‘Deactivate account’ option which boosted the morale of our exhausted user. With high hopes, the user followed each step explained in the video:

Image Credits: Youtube
Image Credits: Youtube

While following above-mentioned steps, there was another setback for the user as there were no ‘Account Settings’ in step 6.

The Endgame

Our user decided to take a break for some time and freshened up his mind; tried to investigate all the options one by one and…


User discovered that Amazon.com changed the label ‘Account Settings’ to ‘Password and Settings’ because many people already knew about the old method through Youtube.

After following all the clues, the user was still unable to deactivate the account and had to go through either ‘Chat’ or ‘Call’ option to catch that option.

Although in real life, Joseph Shea(FBI Detective) managed to catch Frank Abagnale but in this story by Amazon, our user gave up.

Although the chase was between ‘deactivate account’ and ‘user’, Amazon came out victorious in the end.


What are your thoughts on this practice?

If you enjoyed this story, please click the 👏 button and share to help others find it! Feel free to leave a comment below.

Stickey Ideas

Multidisciplinary Collection of fresh perspectives and key…

Avi Chudasama

Written by

UX Researcher and Strategist @ OLX Group

Stickey Ideas

Multidisciplinary Collection of fresh perspectives and key ideas

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