The practice of simplicity
Jakob Nielsen says forget self-expression, put users first
I N T E R A C T I V E D E S I G N F O R U M
Issue 8 | February 2000
Reviewed & recommended:
The Interactive Book by Celia Pearce
Interface Culture by Steven Johnson
In association with
As a much-needed antidote to the tidal wave of books describing "killer" sites and "cool" design, every web designer needs to read this book.
Some years from now when everyone has high-bandwidth connections to the Web we may look back on Nielsen's focus on simplicity and download speed as curious, but for now it's good advice.
His bias is clear from the start:
The lists of "dos" & "don'ts" may be a little off-putting, but the abundance of examples shown get the points across fast. If you look at the abundant case-study illustrations & read the captions you'll get a good sense of his arguments before reading a word of the text.
For a HOME RUN, he adds:
imagemaps, frames, PDFs
While constantly bad-mouthing the use of graphics to make things look interesting, Nielsen makes a strong case for writing in a more interesting, Web-friendly way:
His advice on how to write differently for the Web vs. traditional print media can transform your thinking about Web content design.
But then every time I hop onto the Web and encounter sites that make me wait while a 100 Mb image that I have no interest in loads, or I click on the "Yes I have Flash installed" icon only to have the screen freeze up, I wish I could force those designers to memorize Designing Web Usability before booting up their computers again.
Either way, it's a book worth reading.