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Designing Web Usability: The Practice of Simplicity Paperback – Jan 2000

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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: 17.1 x 2 x 23.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 291,911 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

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.

Review

"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

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 40 people found the following review helpful By David Swallow on 30 April 2006
Format: Paperback
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 By A Customer on 9 Mar. 2000
Format: Paperback
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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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 25 Oct. 2000
Format: Paperback
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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 27 Jan. 2000
Format: Paperback
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 By A Customer on 20 Sept. 2000
Format: Paperback
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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