Okay, this is my idea. Imagine you have T-shirts with the following attributes added as simple products:
Then, in the admin program you can select all the individual simple products and click on “group into simple configurable product”
Now, this is how it will work:
When a user is browsing the catalog nothing has changed. They will still see multiple shirts like this:
Ralph Lauren - White
Ralph Lauren - Blue
However, when they click on lets say Ralph Lauren - Blue and go to the shirts individual product page (not a separate page like configurable products do now) they will be see the page EXACTLY as if Ralph Lauren - Blue was a simple product, with one exception:
On the simple product page they will be able to configure the product just like they would if it was a configurable product
Why is this important?
The reason why is because most configurable products should really be separate products in the catalog because they are presented differently. For example, I may not click on the white version of the shirt, but I might click on the black version. However, I should still get the option to change the color. Pretty much the only type of products that should be configurable how it is now is products differentiated by size (12 count protein bars versus 24 count protein bars, queen size bedspread versus king size). Anytime a product has a different image it should appear independently in the catalog
It is not a mistake that amazon functions this way. I do not have a magento store yet, but it appears that this option is not available yet?