Bitterly disappointing and over-commercialized,
This review is from: Homepage Usability: 50 Websites Deconstructed (Paperback)In the past Jakob Nielsen has written intelligent and cutting-edge commentary on the state of online usability. When it comes to software and web usability he has only a handful of equals. This book is a huge let-down following his excellent book, "Designing Web Usability" - that is a must read. Anything worth learning in "Homepage Usability" is already in "Designing Web Usability."
Jakob Nielsen goes well beyond usability here. He now either believes he is qualified to give sales, marketing, copywriting and advertising advice or, as the hefty price-tag for this book indicates, he may have just sold out. The latter may be truer. Evidence for this is how he recently sent out his widely-read newsletter with advertising suggestions for Google.com without disclosing the nature of his financial relationship to the company.
Deconstructing homepages is only a somewhat useful exercise anyway. Most user actions take place deeper within the site. The goal of the homepage is not just usability, but to persuade the visitor to click beyond. Nielsen misses this completely when he offers advice suggesting that navigational elements never be repeated. Does he believe every user studiously examines every navigational element before deciding what to do next?
Here are another couple of examples of how poorly thought-out, inconsistent and inaccurate his advice is:
+ Internal Search Engines - Advising that every homepage must have a search engine input box contradicts research that shows how inefficient search queries are for most users and how it compromises conversion
+ Copywriting - Dogmatically proclaiming that exclamation points don't belong on homepages is arrogance running headlong into ignorance. Good copywring is sensitive to context.
There are dozens of other examples as curious as these. It's possible to glean good usability advice from this book. However, how will the average reader separate the wheat from the chaff?
This is an attractively packaged - but not user-friendly - coffee table book. I'll be using it to stabilize the uneven leg of my coffee table.
Jeffrey Eisenberg "I love books and particularly audiobooks. Give me history, sci-fi, thrillers and/ or most subjects and I'm a happy camper."
Location: Brooklyn, NY USA
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