Most authors leave a significant gap between the theory and practice--a gap that it is left up to the reader to fill. Homepage Usability: 50 Websites Deconstructed
boldly steps into that gap with specific observations and suggestions backed with solid quantitative analysis. This book focuses only on homepage design as the most important point of presence for any Web site.
This definitive work is co-authored by Jakob Nielsen--the accepted industry expert in Web usability--and Marie Tahir, an expert in user profiling. Their collaboration has produced a guide of such rare practical benefit that Web designers will likely wear out their first copy scouring the pages to savour every last morsel of wisdom.
The book begins with a chapter of precise guidelines that serve as a checklist of the features and functionality to include on your homepage. The specifics found in categories such as "revealing content through examples" and "graphic design" will quickly hook you and whet your appetite for more. These guidelines are followed up with hard statistics and an examination of the ominous Jakob's Law: "users spend most of their time on other sites than your site." Here you'll find some interesting statistics about how various conventions like search, privacy policies, and logos are used.
All this leads up to the showcase element of the book--a systematic deconstruction of 50 of the most popular homepages on the Web. The authors painstakingly pick apart each in an uncompromising autopsy of usability. Each site is graphically analysed for its use of real estate and summarised with the frankness only found from true experts. Then each section of the homepage is bulleted and analysed for potential improvements.
It's a bold move to offer a critique of industry standard Web sites such as Yahoo, CNet and ebay but the authors have done such a fine job that the designers of those sites will surely make reading this book a high priority. For the rest of us, this work will serve as an invaluable gospel. --Stephen W Plain
From the Back Cover
Quick! You have 10 seconds to show your face to the world! What does your homepage say? In a world of information overload and dying dot.coms, your homepage must grab the attention of visitors, tell them where they are, and let them know where they can go. Does your site pass the test? Homepage Usability is all about making that first impression. Is your tag line effective? Can visitors find your search box? How difficult is the page to navigate? What percentage of your homepage is devoted to actual content? By putting 50 of today's top sites to the test, web usability experts Jakob Nielsen and Marie Tahir show you what makes for goodmdand not so goodmdfirst impressions. This book contains hundreds of examples that you can employ on your own homepage. Apply the best. Avoid the worst.