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Top Ten Web-Design Mistakes of 2002

Jakob Nielsen’s list of Web-Design Mistakes for 2002 is the usual Nielsen read. Some useful points for any web designer. I did get a little chuckle with point #5 (Blocks of Text). It seemed to contradict what he does on useit.com.

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PUBLISHED ON Jan.21.2003 BY Christopher May
Darrel’s comment is:

Keep in mind that Nielsen tends to focus on a very narrow field of web sites...namely commercial web sites, and often specifically commercial ecommerce web sites.

So take his advice in that context.

On Jan.21.2003 at 03:45 PM
Armin’s comment is:

Here is a question, how seriously is this guy taken by web designers? There are times when his articles or writings seem like bad April Fool's jokes. He seems to know a lot, though. I'll be honest, I hadn't heard of the guy untill 3-4 months ago.

On Jan.21.2003 at 03:55 PM
Christopher May’s comment is:

A lot of what Nielsen has to say is common sense. He just takes things too far to one side of the spectrum. Nielsen is good at pissing designers off with his "I know all" attitude. I find he really discredits the science of visual communication and doesn't give us enough credit. Not everyone on the net is a 60 year old Luddite.

On Jan.21.2003 at 04:26 PM
JAKE’s comment is:

How seriously is he taken by web designers? Too seriously!

On Jan.21.2003 at 05:11 PM
Darrel’s comment is:

He has to be respected by the mere fact that clients listen to him.

He tends to oversimplify issues, but that's what sells. That's what is easily digested by CEOs who ultimately make the go/no-go decisions and writes the check for the vendor, so it's important that web developers at least listen to Nielsen.

"Nielsen is good at pissing designers off with his "I know all" attitude."

I've found that the visual designers that are most pissed at his rants are those that debate whether or not the type on a web site should be set at 8px or not. In otherwords, most designers with some understanding of basic accessibility and usability issues don't tend to get overly upset with his common-sense comments.

Like I said, though, Nielsen tends to speak about a very narrow niche of sites. His comments are appropriate for that niche, and only tangentally appropriate for any other type of site.

On Jan.21.2003 at 05:32 PM
d’s comment is:

My parents used to work with and sit on panels with Jakob. A lot of what he says today, he's been saying for many years, so they tell me.

As Darrel mentions, he oversimplifies a lot and in deeper discussions in information design, like on the SIGIA lists, he rarely comes up.

What he has done, as is also mentioned, is bring a lot of credibility to the field of usability and allowed information designers to piggyback on that, when it used to be incredibly difficult to educate large clients on the purpose of it.

Being published as well as his newsletters, help to bring about points that may not have a chance to be brought into the mainstream, and even though a lot of it may be common sense to the average interactive designer, a lot of it is still not being employed. Other books published, like the Design of Everyday Things, might seem relatively obvious, but for some they're innovative - and still, today.

He still remains to be very antagonistic, and a bully. My Dad said he saw a panel with Clement Mok and Kajob Nielsen on together, which I would have liked to have seen.

On a side note, whenever I do web concepts that need a photograph of a "corporate ugly mug shot" I usually use one of Nielsen's that you can download off of his site. It always freaks the client out - prompts a question as to who the hell he is, and I get a small chuckle.

On Jan.21.2003 at 06:13 PM
d’s comment is:

> Kajob Nielsen

I'm proposing that he now be called - Kajob.

Sorry for that blatant error.

On Jan.21.2003 at 08:07 PM
Su’s comment is:

Just about everyone I've ever come across tends to hate Jakob. For usability info, I prefer WebWord. Often, the actual concepts aren't all that different, but they don't take on such a high and mighty tone.

On Jan.21.2003 at 08:26 PM
Darrel’s comment is:

Of course, those that find Nielson high-and-mighty tend to be high-and-mighty graphic designers ;o)

On Jan.21.2003 at 10:06 PM
JAKE’s comment is:

I agree with SU, I get frustrated at the way he makes sweeping rationalizations too — like there's only one kind of site out there and they should all follow his guidelines.

On Jan.24.2003 at 12:33 AM
Christopher May’s comment is:

I see it like this. Try to get to know as much about the psycho / demographic target, hard/software statistics and the brand vision of the project. From there you can make an educated rationalization on where you can take it.

Categorizing "Corporate" as one classification is wrong. The corporate culture and attitudes from say Citibank and the target that uses their website can be entirely different than that of the corporate attitude and the people who surf Ikea (granted there is a crossover).

Digital design for corporate clientele doesn’t always have to be boring. It's like saying; All print material - in order to be read most clearly by most people - have to be formatted like a dictionary... set in 20 pt. Arial.

On Jan.24.2003 at 08:38 AM
Darrel’s comment is:

Digital design for corporate clientele doesn’t always have to be boring.

Who said it has to be boring? Nielsen emphasizes usability.

On Jan.24.2003 at 09:28 AM