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Designing Web Usability: The Practice of Simplicity [Paperback]

Jakob Nielsen
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
Price: £33.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

Jan 2000 156205810X 978-1562058104 1

Users experience the usability of a web site before they have committed to using it and before making any purchase decisions. The web is the ultimate environment for empowerment, and he or she who clicks the mouse decides everything. Designing Web Usability is the definitive guide to usability from Jakob Nielsen, the world's leading authority. Over 250,000 Internet professionals around the world have turned to this landmark book, in which Nielsen shares the full weight of his wisdom and experience. From content and page design to designing for ease of navigation and users with disabilities, he delivers complete direction on how to connect with any web user, in any situation. Nielsen has arrived at a series of principles that work in support of his findings: 1. That web users want to find what they're after quickly; 2. If they don't know what they're after, they nevertheless want to browse quickly and access information they come across in a logical manner. This book is a must-have for anyone who thinks seriously about the web.

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Designing Web Usability: The Practice of Simplicity + Prioritizing Web Usability + Don't Make Me Think!: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability
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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: New Riders; 1 edition (Jan 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 156205810X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1562058104
  • Product Dimensions: 23.9 x 17 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 131,221 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Amazon Review

Creating Web sites is easy. Creating sites that truly meet the needs and expectations of the wide range of online users is quite another story. In Designing Web Usability: The Practice of Simplicity, renowned Web usability guru Jakob Nielsen shares his insightful thoughts on the subject. Packed with annotated examples of actual Web sites, this book sets out many of the design precepts all Web developers should follow.

This guide segments discussions of Web usability into page, content, site, and intranet design. This breakdown skilfully isolates for the reader many subtly different challenges that are often mixed together in other discussions. For example, Nielsen addresses the requirements of viewing pages on varying monitor sizes separately from writing concise text for "scannability". Along the way, the author pulls no punches with his opinions, using phrases like "frames: just say no" to immediately make his feelings known. Fortunately, his advice is some of the best you'll find.

One of the unique aspects of this title is the use of actual statistics to buttress the author's opinions on various techniques and technologies. He includes survey results on sizes of screens, types of queries submitted to search portals, response times by connection type and more. This book is intended as the first of two volumes--focusing on the "what". The author promises a follow-up title that will show the "hows", and based on this installation, we can't wait. --Stephen W. Plain, amazon.com

Topics covered: Cross-platform design, response time considerations, writing for the Web, multimedia implementation, navigation strategies, search boxes, corporate intranet design, accessibility for disabled users, international considerations, and future predictions.


"Robust advice on designing for maximum speed and simplicity. Well, illustrated, bracingly opinionated and riveting."www.mantex.co.uk, Sep 2001 "Anybody who has the slightest interest in web pages, site design, and information architeture should read this book. I feel quite confident that it is destined to become a classic."www.mantex.co.uk, 2000 "If you want to know about usability and the Web, this is obviously the place to come to. Very well designed, plenty of white space with numerous coloured illustrations of real Web pages. Overall, it is a pleasure to browse it."http://informationr.net, August 2001

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Designing Web Usability... In The 20th Century 30 April 2006
Having read the wealth of positive reviews for this book, both on Amazon and on various industry websites, I assumed that 'Designing Web Usability' would be the ultimate purchase for those interested in usability and related practices.

Had I made this assumption about five or six years ago, I may have been correct.

Sadly, this book is let down by an extremely dated outlook, which belies the author's "future-proof" claim that the principles advocated in this book will remain important regardless of technological progression. Certainly, some of the broader doctrines it advocates will always retain their relevance (such as the importance of creating simple user-centric designs) but these are sadly obscured by some spurious predictions and a seemingly complete lack of foresight towards some of the major advancements in web technology (such as the massive uptake of broadband, and the use of CSS for anything other than styling fonts and table cells).

Such woeful inaccuracies could be overlooked by virtue of the fact that this book was first published in 1999 (not an incredibly long time in any other subject matter, but an entire lifetime in the field of web design). Nevertheless, if an author is willing to retain a book on the market (without any significant overhaul other than a pithy preface) then they must be prepared to face the criticism, comparison and scrutiny that will inevitably ensue. Thus, despite the bet-hedging get-out clauses with which the author laces his final chapter, statements as ludicrous as "we have to wait until approximately the year 2007 for books to go away and be fully replaced with online information", will always colour the reader's judgment towards the book's other less questionable claims.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must buy for all new comers to web design 25 Oct 2000
By A Customer
Be you a print designer, html coder, project manager or a home user simply trying to dip your toes into the internet and thinking of getting into web design, this is a great introductory book. Jakob Nielsen is considered a standard in the industry, that doesnt mean his words of wisdom are gospel, or that he is always right, infact there were ares of this book that personally I felt were wrong. However as a whole this was an excellent summary of User Interface and web usage. He has proved that his views and opinions are accurate based on the longevity of some of his statements which although having been issued 3 years ago, still ring true today.
An excellent source and summary of this book can be found at his website... which is where much of this book comes from
Overall an excellent read, and a must have
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Some readers, more familiar with the author's online articles, already consider him to be a web design guru. My opinions are based purely on the basis of this book and differ in some respects.
Mr Nielsen may be a capable web designer - certainly he covers a number of good design points - but this book is about his opinion on what web design should become in the future and it is not supported by usibility studies. A few times in the book, he casually mentions that 'field studies have come to the same conclusion' over one point or another, but fails to give details of which studies, when they were conducted, on what range of subject etc. thereby stopping readers from deciding whether the conclusion is applicable to the target audience of their current project.
The main thrust of the book, logically enough, is that sites should be designed for the user rather than the designer or his employer. Things should be put where the user expects to find them rather than just where the designer thinks it will look good. Whilst this could be seen to limit artistic design, it is a sensible tenet within a book about usibility. But then Mr Nielsen says (on page 178) 'On all interior pages, the logo should be clickable and linked to the home page. Unfortunately, not all users understand the use of the logo as a link to the home page and it will take a while until this convention is fully established.' Considering his assertion that pages should be tailored to the user and not the reverse, this (and a few similar examples) cast doubt on the author's credibility (a topic that he covers well in the book).
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
As a reader of Jakob Nielson's newspaper articles, and his bi-weekly column , it was a pleasure to see his ideas in print. If one is in the business of designing web pages this book is an essential part of one's library. However, with its avoidance of detailed HTML code, it is very readable by anyone who is a regular user of the Internet. If you wonder why you avoid some sites like the plague, and regularly return to others, this book will enlighten you.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars low usability book- useful but market-obsessed 20 Sep 2000
By A Customer
I agree with other readers: Jakob Nielsen has no idea about book usability. Not only the flaps, but the comment-outs and examples that you have to interrupt reading the text to look at. They should have been integrated into the continuous text of the book.
While what he says about user behaviour is enourmously useful to any web designer, he doesn't really consider the design of sites that aren't trying to sell anything. If you're only trying to present information, or provide entertainment, there's not a whole heap of help for you here. And, oh boy, is this guy confident of his own expertise!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Great for the basics but outdated
Great book and gives a grounded understanding of Web Usability and UX. However, as this was written in 1997, it is a little outdated and the website examples are basic at... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Daniel Reed
4.0 out of 5 stars Designing Wed Usability by Jakob Nielsen
Designing Web Usability by Jakob Nielsen.Did the job of informing me on web designing and everything that goes with it.
Published 14 months ago by BERNARD CLARKE
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect and good price!!! AAA+
Good book. You can think it's an old book, but Usability is always on top. Give it a chance. read it.
Published on 10 Feb 2012 by Manuel Mas Candela
4.0 out of 5 stars Knowing the rules
This book explains the rudiments of usability on the web with examples of best practice. Anyone developing projects for the web should heed the advice in these pages. Read more
Published on 14 April 2003 by Zabaman
4.0 out of 5 stars The Web Usability Bible
If you are planning to design a website for your company, or indeed if your company already has a web site, you must read this book. Read more
Published on 17 Dec 2002 by P. Jones
5.0 out of 5 stars A Bible for Practioneers
I manage a web site for large company and this book is our Bible. It is probably the most insightful book on web design I've ever read read. Read more
Published on 25 Jun 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy borrow or steal this before you pollute the internet
If everyone who ever made a website read this book before they started hacking code, Webland would be a much better place for all of us. Read more
Published on 10 Jan 2002 by Tom du Pré
5.0 out of 5 stars Web designers must read this book
...This is the web design equivalent of 'What they don't teach you at Harvard business school'
As a designer, you must read this before commencing on any serious design. Read more
Published on 21 Nov 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant - a man who can make himself understood.
Don't you get tired of reading all those books that warble and and on until you get lost and wonder what it was the author was actually trying to say? Well I do! Read more
Published on 20 Jun 2001
4.0 out of 5 stars Jakob describes usability for information-services -- solely
I like this book. When I bought it, I knew what I was expecting. As seen on the cover, it doesn't provide sophisticated effects and looks, at first, to be really plain and... Read more
Published on 6 May 2001
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