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on 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. A significant proportion of the time taken to achieve their goal will be taken up by learning how to use the site. If sites are more standardised, the learning curve will be flatter, and the user will achieve his goal more effectively, more efficiently, and more satisfactorily. This book starts to set out those standards, and should be read by people designing sites.
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on 13 January 2002
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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on 7 November 2001
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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on 25 January 2002
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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on 14 November 2008
... it has8 years and it shows at times. Most standards are still commom and making the web more usable is certainly a valid effort. I found however that this book is a bit dated. This could be of no importance if the "companion website" (as it is called) had any useful content but it is not so. The book mentions several links that seem to indicate additional content, as it is now so commom but once you get there it is just an invitation to spend a couple of hundred dollars buying the report or whatever. I tried several of these links all to the same effect. For someone who is so prompt criticising the usability of other web sites I found their site confusing and just one big effort to make you buy something with no useful content of its own. Overall I found the book a lot less useful than antecipated.
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VINE VOICEon 6 February 2002
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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on 19 May 2002
I've read about 10 books and tutorials about site design. This was the best of them in terms of usability.
Jakob's Law has an unbelievable importance: "users spend most of their time on other sites than your site.".
There is a separate section for statistics what contains the range and the average of properties like:
-Page width
-Logo location
-Width of search box
I felt at last somebody tells what to do if I want to create a site what is simple to use.
Another book to check out is: Don't make me think!
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on 15 December 2001
This is a very good book. It starts with an extensive list of good design principles then moves on to the review of the home pages of 50 websites.
Each home page under review is illustrated with numbered points which all have a detailed explanation (such as the URL, ALT text, graphics, headlines, redundant text, search box, etcetera).
The language is easy to understand and gets to the point: if there is something about the home page that needs improving, this book will tell you and give reasons for its decision based on the design principles.
Each home page has been broken down into a pie chart showing how the screen 'real estate' is broken into different categories. For example, how much space is devoted to adverts, browser, content, navigation, etcetera.
If you are a web designer, this book will improve the usability of your sites and prevent bad design ever reaching your potential customers.
The book is packed full of useful information, and I would not hesitate to recommend it: this book is excellent!
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on 18 December 2014
Some of the principles are still relevant (information architecture/hierarchy), but this book is very outdated and is more of a guide to creating websites in the 90s than today. A lot of modern research and ideas are missing, and a lot of the info is just useless.

I'm surprised a modern revision hasn't been released - Nielsen/NNG are still relevant (just about), but they're not doing themselves any favours by refusing to create a more up to date version.
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on 13 March 2013
I'm not even convinced that this book was good to begin with, but it's now completely out of date - screen shots are all from websites you'd be embarrassed to create today.
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