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Usability Engineering (Interactive Technologies)
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32 of 36 people found the following review helpful
on 1 May 1999
As a Web site designer, I've long been an advocate of JakobNielsen's ideas -- to an extent. Usability is arguably the most important aspect of any design project, and an aspect too often ignored by many software and Web site designers.
Mr. Nielsen, in his book, very aptly points out typical errors and common stumbling blocks of interface design, and presents very convincing arguments and methods for solving these problems. However, strict adherence to Mr. Nielsen's interface design techniques, at the expense of less easily measured human factors, will often result in a sterile and boring product. Both are eminently efficient and usable, but are also wonderful examples of visual blandness -- nearly devoid of the human and aesthetic factors that contributes to a depth of personality and a richness of sensory stimulation.
Although Mr. Nielsen never specifically advocates this, the logical conclusion of his approach is an interface design whose personality and soul have been stripped away in a slavish preference for pure, unencumbered efficiency and usability. Contrary to Mr. Nielsen's examples, the quest for usability should not abrogate the need to avoid ugliness.
For the sake of efficient usability, I wonder if Mr. Nielsen has replaced his impractical, hard-to-maintain backyard lawn with efficient asphalt paving. Or maybe pulled out his expensive, hard-to-clean, dirt collecting, living room carpet and replaced it with an efficient concrete floor. I'm joking of course, but even if Mr. Nielson thinks this way, most do not. Yet, this is the result achieved by many of his user interface examples.
Perhaps on the planet Vulcan where everyone thinks like Mr. Spock, Mr. Nielsen's conclusions and methods might be the eminently rational final word on good interface design. But on Earth the value of his conclusions and usability tests must be weighed against the somewhat hard-to-measure and difficult-to-quantify factors of illogical human personality and perception.
Although Mr. Nielsen's observations, conclusions and suggestions continue to be very valuable in helping to pull interface design towards much needed greater usability and functionality, his mistake seems to be that this is all he sees as being important.
Cory Maylett
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 1 January 2013
Gives you many ways to look at improving the usability of products. From quick evaluations to how to set up a lab- with many of todays software packages I do wonder if the companies developing new packages ever look at usability.

Surprised by lack of pictures - but that would no doubt dat the book which would be a shame - so the reader concentrates on the text & if you look at the world around you can see what Nielson is stating.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 15 February 1998
Over the past 10 years only a few programming books have made it onto my 'must have' list. Usability Engineering is near the top. Jakob Nielsen's style is humorous and exact. More good advice could hardly be packed into one volume than you will find here.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 16 July 1996
"Usability Engineering" explains the principles of software
usability, and clearly outlines techiniques for assesing
the usablility of your product.
His techniques give a lot of bang for the
buck. There is no excuse not to use them.
He makes convincing arguments for the value of
incorporating usability into the entire software design
and development process. This book is an excellent companion
to Cooper's User Interface bible,"About Face".
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on 16 February 2015
Good quality and great book just to kick you off in usability engineering
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2 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 24 July 2000
Great read - full of useful insights to ensure one can build a better e-business. Memorable, intuitive, interactive and compelling - a paradigm of UE in itself. Good analysis of the differences in UE across cultures and countries. Disappointing coverage of the E-UECRM space - but then no-one seems to have grasped this concept fully and eloquently as yet.
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3 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 8 October 1996
Simply the standard on usability engineering.
Buy this one first.
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