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Designing Web Usability [Paperback]

Jakob Nielsen
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (222 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 57.99
Price: CDN$ 36.53 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Book Description

Dec 20 1999 156205810X 978-1562058104 1

Users experience the usability of a web site before they have committed to using it and before making any purchase decisions. The web is the ultimate environment for empowerment, and he or she who clicks the mouse decides everything. Designing Web Usability is the definitive guide to usability from Jakob Nielsen, the world's leading authority. Over 250,000 Internet professionals around the world have turned to this landmark book, in which Nielsen shares the full weight of his wisdom and experience. From content and page design to designing for ease of navigation and users with disabilities, he delivers complete direction on how to connect with any web user, in any situation. Nielsen has arrived at a series of principles that work in support of his findings: 1. That web users want to find what they're after quickly; 2. If they don't know what they're after, they nevertheless want to browse quickly and access information they come across in a logical manner. This book is a must-have for anyone who thinks seriously about the web.

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From Amazon

Creating Web sites is easy. Creating sites that truly meet the needs and expectations of the wide range of online users is quite another story. In Designing Web Usability: The Practice of Simplicity, renowned Web usability guru Jakob Nielsen shares his insightful thoughts on the subject. Packed with annotated examples of actual Web sites, this book sets out many of the design precepts all Web developers should follow.

This guide segments discussions of Web usability into page, content, site, and intranet design. This breakdown skillfully isolates for the reader many subtly different challenges that are often mixed together in other discussions. For example, Nielsen addresses the requirements of viewing pages on varying monitor sizes separately from writing concise text for "scanability." Along the way, the author pulls no punches with his opinions, using phrases like "frames: just say no" to immediately make his feelings known. Fortunately, his advise is some of the best you'll find.

One of the unique aspects of this title is the use of actual statistics to buttress the author's opinions on various techniques and technologies. He includes survey results on sizes of screens, types of queries submitted to search portals, response times by connection type and more. This book is intended as the first of two volumes--focusing on the "what." The author promises a follow-up title that will show the "hows" and, based on this installation, we can't wait. --Stephen W. Plain

Topics covered: Cross-platform design, response time considerations, writing for the Web, multimedia implementation, navigation strategies, search boxes, corporate intranet design, accessibility for disabled users, international considerations, and future predictions.

From Library Journal

While everyone wants to design cool web sites, no one wants to think simple and consider whether the design actually accomplishes its goal, which is usually to sell, teach, or entertain. The sole exception is Nielsen, who has made a living speaking and writing about what works and what doesn't work in interactive media. His simple, well-written, and well-illustrated book discusses web usability, page design, content design, site design, intranet design, accessibility for users with disabilities, international use, future directions, and simplicity. Buy more than one copy.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
This book is primarily a stylebook. The web is often mistaken for an electronic book and this is probably one of the reasons it has taken a while to find a guide aimed at web usability. Jakob Nielsen does a great job in creating a style manual for a medium, which has different aims and limitations from printed material. What made Tim Berners-Lee¡s innovation successful; the delivery of digital media on all manner of computer platforms; is also its drawback. Not every platform treats HTML tags in the same manner.
Nielsen¡s main point is that the web is primarily a communications tool, although an interactive one. He states, ¡§the main goal of most web projects should be to make it easy for customers to perform useful tasks.¡ In addition Nielsen points out that your display terminal is not a book. This means a screen that although interactive is harder to read than a book. The prime advantage is the ability to link to other current and active links or content in an immediate manner. The biggest mistake a site author makes is in creating slow, confusing, or cumbersome sites.
Make no mistake, the author knows is stuff and is consistent in his tone. This is the first part of a two-book set. By the time you have read both books some of the more obvious points are a bit overdone, but his main goal; to get web designers to change some of their bad habits worked with me.
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4.0 out of 5 stars New Century, New Book Oct. 7 2003
By Jess
Jakob Nielsen is well known for his reports on usability and I really enjoyed his book "Homepage Usability." I figured that this would be a more in-depth exploration of how to design with the user in mind. Most of the points were on the ball, and very common sense, but nice to see it in writing from someone else. The examples in "Designing Web Usability," though ancient, fit well with the points.
I kept getting lost, in a way, because I kept getting distracted by the prehistoric examples and data. For example, what do I design for? 640? 770? What is in use today? 1997 was a long time ago in web years. I suppose it's difficult to have a book with such current data in it, but I'm thinking it's definitely time for a new version of this book.
There is also a tendency for redundancy. I suppose this is inevitable since whether you're a search results page or an intranet site, you're still dealing with the same topics of design.
I do like that even though this book is ancient, it touches on accessibility issues. So many places are only now thinking of that. I also like that testing is mentioned, though again, it is peppered with out-of-date technology which makes all the information seem invalid.
I think this book would be much stronger with new examples, updates here and there to technology and re-released. I think that that was one of the strengths of his other book, "Homepage Usability," was the freshness of the examples and problems designers are facing. If, and when, there is a new and more concise version of this book, I will buy it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen Sept. 27 2003
By Frank
this play must be read at least twice in order to get
a real sense of whats going on.Ibsen created a timeless work of art when he wrote Hedda Gabler.Here we have a simple plot,A woman who feels that she is trapped in a loveless marriage,discovers that her old love is back in town. To make things more complicated for Hedda, this old lover is a rival of her husband.To add insult to injury,her old lover is being helped by the woman she hates.But I wouldn't fell too sorry for our Hedda, from the very opening of the play we get a chance to see who Hedda really is.In this scene we see George Tessman, Hedda's husband admiring the new bonnet of his aunt Miss Juliana Tessman,who has just placed it on a chair.Hedda enters.
Tessman, this servant will never do.
Miss Tessman-
Berta will never do ?
Whatever put that in your head, dear?
Look at that! She has left her old hat lying around on a chair.
Why, Hedda--
Suppose anyone had come in and had seen it!
But Hedda! That bonnet's Aunt Julia's
It is ?
Miss Tessman(picking up the hat)
Yes, indeed. And what's more,it;s not old.
Hedda knew that the hat belonged to Miss Tessman,and that it wasn't old.This is where the reader get a sense of what Hedda is about.We see the woman full of jealousy,needing always to be the center of attention.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Lesson Learned; Lesson Forgotten Sept. 24 2003
This book did not resonate with me. Perhaps it is because I recently completed reading a great book on web design, "The Design of Sites."
It is not that the book is without merit. There are nuggets of wisdom buried in every chapter. Jakob Nielsen is an acknowledged web design expert. This book summarizes much of his thinking. Simplicity and usability should rule the web, according to the author. He is right. Users, or perhaps the term, surfers is more appropriate, are never more than one click from moving on to the next site.
There are some great chapters - the one on content design springs to mind. However, the book is like reading a W. E. B. Griffin novel. By the time you finish it, you realize it does not contain much new material. Topics and introductions are continually re-served and rehashed. At these prices, the author ought to credit his readers with enough intelligence to remember lessons taught in previous chapters.
The author's mantra is to know your user. This book would have been better if he accepted his own advice.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars good intro
its a good book to get introduce to the usability standard. Lots of example are covered in the book. a+
Published 21 months ago by Vedge
4.0 out of 5 stars Good base
This is a good book if you've never heard about usability. I agree with the review saying it would be time for a review though...
I find it too extremist on some points. Read more
Published on April 7 2006 by Nelson Therrien
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the bible
You may not follow all of Jacob Neilson's guidelines, but you can't start any website construction or redesign project without reading this book.
Published on March 6 2005 by Blair
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic Reference, but a bit outdated
This book is a must for every web developer, although I think it's time for a newer version, as some of the examples and theories are based on pre-2000 studies. Read more
Published on July 18 2004 by Michael Lugassy
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book and easy to use and understand!
Another excellent source of information from the INTERNET guru of them all! This book is a definite MUST HAVE for any website designer, newbie to web design and anyone and... Read more
Published on June 26 2004
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but seriously needs a second edition
This book came out in 1999 and you have to be prepared for that. It's still about 80% useful, which is amazing considering how fast web technology is moving. Read more
Published on May 23 2004 by Matthew T. Nelson
3.0 out of 5 stars Common sense reasoning
I'm a designer and I design web sites for a living, and this book didn't click with me. The topics in the book are repeated over and over and over and over again--simplicity and... Read more
Published on March 17 2004 by Dave Oppenheimer
4.0 out of 5 stars Good conecpts, BAD DESIGN
This man can really tell you how to design a website that will satisify user well. He has researched the field of web design and usability stats and knows his stuff. Read more
Published on March 16 2004 by G. Brown
5.0 out of 5 stars Give this book to anyone involved with the web.
Another Outsource Marketing favorite! We have given at least a dozen copies of this book to clients and friends of the firm. Read more
Published on Dec 7 2003 by Patrick M. Byers
5.0 out of 5 stars If web design were a religion... this would be the bible
Cover to cover this book is crammed full of good stuff. I started learning about the internet from the search engine optimmization side of the web. Read more
Published on Oct. 27 2003 by A. M Wall
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