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Homepage Usability: 50 Websites Deconstructed [Hardcover]

Jakob Nielsen , Marie Tahir
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Tandem Library (Nov 2001)
  • ISBN-10: 0613917340
  • ISBN-13: 978-0613917346
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
43 of 45 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good starting point, should go further 11 April 2002
Jakob is really trying to hurry the web forwards into useful maturity, and who can blame him. Many designers who come from a purely artistic background will hate Jakob and this book, because they will think it amputates their creativity. They would be right, and Jakob would make no excuses for that. One of the reasons why the web is such a nasty place to be most of the time, is that different sites do the same things in different ways. In this book, Jakob and Marie attempt to identify the common components that most websites share, (such as company logo, navigation area, news area, about us link, search function, legal wording etc) and recommend a consistent way of displaying these common components. These recommendations are based not on what they think you should do, but based on what most other websites are doing already. If 84% of sites have their company logo in the top left hand corner, that is a pretty good indication that a similar percentage of users will expect to find the company logo to appear in the top left hand corner, which is a pretty good indication that it's a good idea to put your company logo in the top left hand corner.
It's a handy book. Yes it's quite repetitive, but in way that illustrates the point's he's making about standardisation. Jakob should go further. The Victorians started standardisation, and created standard time and weights and measures. Jakob should use his position to push web standardisation. He should examine sites deeper that the homepage. He should provide examples of information architectures that although will need to be adjusted from site to site, follow a similar structure that users will recognise and be able to navigate intuitively.
When users go to a site, they go there to achieve something.
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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Jakob Nielson has set out his stall to be the voice of science and reason in web design and, in the past, I have found a lot of his advice helpful. However this book strays into dangerous territory because he exposes his detailed thinking and there are enough cases where his prescription misses the point about the message and audience for a particular website to convice me this emperor is only half-clad.
The approach to the book is very much a box ticking exercise, you can't help feeling that this is a cheap way to fill a few hundred pages and get another title out.
Nielson and Tahir analyse a lot of (relatively similar) websites and reading soon becomes a grind, each page I turned I hoped I would learn or see something new but after a while I realised I was on a bus tour of the ordinary and I was unlikely to find any significant insights.
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36 of 39 people found the following review helpful
Very easy to use practical advice about constructing a homepage. Lots of the 113 guidelines will be familiar to people who've read Designing Web Usability by Jakob Nielsen, but some are new.
The guidelines are based on the assessment of 50 homepages from the internet. Each of the homepages is shown with comments on how they might be improved. This is the sort of useful exercise you'd do if only you had the time. Thank goodness someone has done it for us.
My favourite section is the strength of recommendation against each guideline. It allows you to view quickly which are must dos, and the ones you might consider ignoring in your particular circumstances.
Look at your homepage with new eyes, I did.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good, but possibly too long. 25 Jan 2002
By A Customer
This is an excellent book giving guidelines for communicating the purpose of websites, communicating information about the company whose site it is, revealing content through examples, archives, accessing past content, links, navigation, search, tools, task shortcuts, graphics, animation, graphic design, UI widgets, title tags, URLs, news, press releases, popup windows, intermediate pages, advertising, welcomes, technical problems and much more. The first 52 pages are worth their weight in gold to any web professional.
The rest of the book is taken up with indepth analyses of specific web pages, and this I found rather boring & much less useful, though I can see that for people who need real-life examples reiterated it can be a good thing.
But overall pretty recommended.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good - but repetitive 6 Feb 2002
By Bobby Elliott VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I like Nielsen. He talks common sense. His first book on Web design ('Web Usability') should be the bible of Web designers - but as as this new book shows, the same old mistakes are made time and again. The first 50 pages are great but then he analyses actual Web sites for the rest of the book - and this would be OK if they were different. But they're all pretty much the same so you don't learn much after the first few reviews. Sloppy research. But I still recommend the book. Give it to your IT guys.
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