le 7 janvier 2003
When I bought this book, I did so under the false impression that the man who designed the book was also the author. Not so. As a CIW Master Site Designer, I am highly offended by this guy's oversimplified view of Web design and usability. One only has to take one look at his own Web site to see that his solutions are neither practical or "usable." Unfortunately, like so many in his profession, he completely disregards the fact that the Web is now a publishing medium - NOT a computer technology. More importantly, regarding e-commerce, it is a marketing tool; one can no longer disregard esthetics for the sake of "usability." Worse yet, like many of these so-called "usability professionals," he's treating the symptom and not the illness - poor browser software design. Most, if not all, of the usability issues for which Web designers and developers must compensate are due to lack of standardization and technological development in the browswer software industry. Sure, browser interfaces are getting prettier, but the guts of browser software still have not changed enough to appropriately accommodate the shift from technical tool to marketing medium. Of course, if these problems were solved, these high-priced "usability professionals" would be out of a job . . .
At any rate, I am a firm believer (and practitioner) of the philosophy that one does not need to sacrifice esthetics for usability, as opposed to the strategies presented herein by Herr Neilson. Do not listen to this man; he is a self-proclaimed "expert" who, by demonstration via his own Web site, has no clue how to address the true needs and concerns of Web customers - let alone, Web users. Stay away from this book!
le 2 octobre 2001
If this was not a book about usabilty, and just web design, I would not have to give this low of a score to it. Being that Jakob Nielsen is a "web usability expert" I would expect the principles to follow over into print. Not the case.
This book has small sidebars on just about everypage. The sidebars sometimes discuss topics which were on a previous page or, worse yet, a topic which has not been addressed in the main body text yet.
Through out the entire volume I found myself reading a paragraph of text, having to stop in the middle of a sentence to read the sidebars before flipping the page, then returning to the middle of the sentence and forgetting what the paragraph was actually about, then I would have to turn back a page.
There is never a reference in the text as to when I should read the side bar. And it is clearly not evident in the main body.
It looks as if the sidebars were an after thought by the publisher so that his book didn't look as plain as his website.
Add to this problem, the poorly captioned images and you have the most un-usable book I have ever read. And that is Ironic since it is a book about Usability.
That being said, the book does have some valid info but it is absolutely not worth the effort.
If you need to read about web usabilty, try "Don't Make Me Think" by Steve Krug. He has great information and an excellent writing style. If you still feel you need Mr. Nielsen's insight, then stick to his website alertbox.com
le 2 mai 2001
1. Go to any web or internet related conference. 2. Sneak in lots to drink. 3. Sneak in lots of friends. 4. Attend the obligatory "User-Centered Web Design" keynote session featuring Web Usability Guru(tm) Jakob Nielsen. 5. Follow these rules:
Every time he says "micropayment", take one drink.
Every time his reasoning relies on having solved "the bandwidth problem", take one drink.
Every time he uses a made-up word like "linkrot" to sound more like Tufte, take one drink.
Every time he forgets that design can be fun, take one drink.
Every time he excuses his own refusal to observe the rules he dictates to everyone else on the grounds that he "knows his audience", take one drink.
If he mentions scrolling, take one drink.
If he mentions that users don't scroll, take one drink.
If he mentions link colors, drink: once for "blue" once for "purple" three for "red", which nobody who's used a browser since 1993 thinks of as a followed link color, anyway. It's the "active link" color, dammit.
If he mentions the Macintosh desktop metaphor, have a pretzel.
Every time he quotes statistics from an unrelated study to prove a point about Web usability, take one drink.
If he actually uses a relevant study, finish bottle.
If Nielsen admits he got his design skills from watching Jerry Pournelle work on his "web page", clutch heart and die.
le 26 février 2001
It's hard to get through this book, partly because of poor design. It's padded with a lot of screen shots (of long gone websites) where he dissects the problems of the page. The screens aren't captioned, and often the accompanying text is separated from the page. There are many sidebars too, that sometimes deal with the topic at hand, often not. The end result, with competing areas of focus, is that this book is the hard copy equivalent of a <BLINK> tag. As for the content itself, it is mainly his opinon, when he does mention research it isn't referenced. Also, I've picked this book up often as a research tool, only to be disappointed that his guidelines were too generic/vague to put into practice--his idea of a web page is somewhat limited to a very general, text-centric information site. The examples, and guidelines in many instances, are dated; due to following the leader or listening to usability pundits many of his rants are obsolete. His free website is a better resource than this book.
le 13 février 2001
This book can be summarized as a complete waste of time for anyone who really wants help with web design. Neilsen has not done any actual web design work in years and still looks back to his job at Sun (10 years ago) as if it has any relevance to the web today. 10 years ago a simple text based non graphics web site was preferable because no one had a connection fast enough to use the web in a graphical format, there were no real graphical browsers, and computers wre not powerful enough to do what a flash site today can do.
You don't need a PHD in interface design to know that less graphics on a site will make it download faster. You also don't need to pay him $175,000.00 to review your site (That is what he charges). Anyone who thinks this old man deserves that kind of money to look at their site and give their opinion needs more help then any one book can give them. You could hire a whole market research firm to do focus groups and surveys for less than this.
In no way has this man addressed the fact that every web site does not have to appeal to every possible person that comes to it. Web sites are made for a purpose and the only people that the site you design has to appeal to is your target audience. Neilsen picks apart every site because this person or that person may not like the site for whatever reason. You could find some reason to dislike any site, but that isn't how you design a web site. You pick you target audience and you design a site that appeals to that audience. You can't be everything to everyone.
Neilsen thinks a boring text only web site is what everyone needs. Maybe his eyesight is starting to go and he can't focus enough to keep up with a site that has actual visual appeal.
Try combining a little creativity with usability and see if people like the site better.
le 9 juillet 2001
I am astounded by the absolute arrogance that Mr. Nielsen displays throughout his book. He is approaching web design not only from a purely scientific point of view, but a science that he seems to determined to bend to suit his purposes; that is not science.
He offers many good points that are, however, common sense to a skilled designer working in this field that do not require you to read this book. In the bibliography section he lists more of his own work as if he is the only person worth his salt, when in fact there are many good reference pieces to read.
The fact of the matter is everyone uses the web in a different way; whether you are hosting a site or surfing through one. The broad gereralizations that Mr. Nielsen makes are at best inaccurate and at worst misleading. The examples of the work he has done, within the book, contradict his own thesis and I would not recommend this book as a serious reference that you will refer to time and again.
le 17 avril 2000
Writers often manipulate science to sell articles or books. This book is full of "Truths" that are completely unsubstantiated. Only a bit into the book, the whole cloth pronouncements on what "they" (the user) want and find useful come fast and furious. Where are the references? Even an anecdote? Nielsen left out any research to hide complicated conclusions.
Nielsen is considered by many in the business to be an expert on web usability, but the book has exchanged any good science for gushing cliches and maxims. Simply no credibility, unusable by mature professionals. Perhaps the book is meant for hobbyists? I did not get that impression from the presentation.
This book is written to make money, not to get at the truth. This book is about Nielsen, not web usability.
I suppose the scientific shortcuts work well for the publisher, but this is not a serious effort.
le 13 février 2001
Jakob Neielsen has his own website at [...] If you even think about buying this book and consider yourself a web designer, take a look at his site first. Frankly speaking, it stinks! He even breaks some of his own rules about text clutter and long scrolling pages. Perhaps you like his site. If so, then maybe this book is for you. Maybe I can get a PhD in web usability, proclaim myself a guru, and sell books. I'll get companies to pay me 175k to give them verbal feedback on their site based on some simple principles that should be summed up in one article - Creating text based websites for morons. By the way, in the same vein of the Dummies books, Jakob assumes that people are idiots. Buy his book and prove him right (the press sure has). Maybe you can buy the book for half price - mine's for sale. Heil Jakob, der fuhrer of usability!
le 31 juillet 2001
"renowned Web usability guru".. that's almost funny... from circa.. 1994? I often wonder how people like this exist. Someone, somewhere, at some time.. validated this guy's archaic ways of thought and now we've got a book of outdated, narrow minded, limited use information.
It almost angers me that this hogwash is treated as factual information, when in actuality, it is nothing more than the opinion of an outdated person with no creative talent and limited understanding of our technology and how it has progressed. If we were to all subscribe to this belief, we'd still be listening to the weekly radio show and placing phone calls through "Elma" at the local switchboard.
The Internet is changing. Lead, follow, or get the heck out of the way.. we're tired of the mindless babble.
le 30 janvier 2000
I have been a huge fan of Jakob Nielsen for years. I am also a subscriber to his Alertbox newsletter (on useit.com).
I was looking forward to this book, but alas, found nothing in here that I would classify as new or ground-breaking.
If you have never, and I mean never, read a book on web design, then by all means, buy this book. But if you have read anything by Waters, Weinnman, Pirouz, McClelland, Ibanez or Flemming (all excellent writers of web design and technique) then you have covered the topics in this book already.
There is no technical, or real design theory here.
Search the Useit.com archives and then subscribe either directly or through devhead (ZD Net) and save your money for his next book (of which this is Part I). You'll get the same information for free ;-)