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Homepage Usability: 50 Websites Deconstructed
Format: PaperbackModifier
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le 3 avril 2002
In spite of the attractive cover and being publiehsed by New Riders, this book is a great disappointment. My advice for any current webdesigner is to look elsewhere for ideas. The first 33 pages of this book contain advice that seems more appropriate for a text book on writing, such as using standard capitalization, spelling out the name of a month and using standard abbreviations.
The next section of the book describes statistics collected by the authors. Here, the statistics are presented in a way that strongly encourages primarily cookie-cutter websites. For example, the authors found that 84% of the websites they looked at had the company logo in the upper-left corner of the homepage. And follow this finding with "We recommend that your site include a logo on the homepage placed in the upper-left corner." As another example it criticizes sites (and even excludes them from their analysis) that do not offer a search feature. With statements such as "Unbelieveably, 14% of the homepages didn't have a search feature." seems to make no allowance for small sites where a search feature would be unnecessary and even foolish.
The final section of the book provides full-color screen shots of popular website homepages and an analysis of those pages by the authors. Here, the authors "critique" pages with frequent trivial comments that seem more appropriate to a scolding teacher or parent with comments like "There should be..." or "This is odd..." or "It's never good.."
I really enjoy good web design books and frequently recommend them to other designers and even clients. But I could not recommend this book even to a novice.
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le 21 décembre 2001
Jakob Nielsen has set himself up as the expert of web (and application) usability...and for the most part his observations and instincts are good. But the fact is no design of *anything* is going to be flawless -- the key is the good old 80:20 rule -- fixing 80% of the problems will require 20% of the effort. Where this book falls apart is JN points out problems, but never categorizes them by importance, or quantifies their impact on your site. Besides, Jakob Neilsen is NOT the last word on usability -- there are many other analysts who disagree with him. Experienced developers will find most of the stuff in this book is purely common sense, recognized by any 12 year old who has used the web for more than a couple of hours. All that said - you're probably going to have to buy the book anyway -- as one other reviewer stated, "The boss will be reading it" - you're going to at least have to know what's in it. Maybe the public library (or local B and N) will help you out. Don't schedule a lot of time - you'll run the book end-to-end in about 15 minutes.
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le 21 mai 2002
I'm stunned that any reader would give this book 5 stars.
It is filled with obvious and uninsightful nitpicks of popular entry pages (not websites, which is where actual usability comes into play).
His capricious evaluation tactics include measuring the percentage of pixels allocated to things like "white space", "self promotional" and "filler" (he does not inform the reader his distinction between such categories. Nor does he indicate what magical percentage he finds appropriate).
Anyone looking for usability insight from Nielsen need only look at his mundane website (useit.com) to see the lackluster consequences of following Nielsen's advice (it's also worth a look since much of the 'information' in this book can be had there for free).
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le 23 février 2003
I don't understand why anyone wants to bother with this book. After reviewing it for 1 hour or less, I sold it.
Most of what it says is obvious, and some of what it says is wrong. As for what are wrong--I recall it was suggesting that certain words be made more efficient (shorter). But the problem is that those words are the same words that the firm has spent millions of dollars to brand better with.
Also, I feel that it nearly disregards the strategic reasoning behind some of the website's design objectives.
If you've got the time to read this tedious, nit-picky text, you're better off spending the time to analyze a website yourself and make your own judgments.
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