Top positive review
43 people found this helpful
A good starting point, should go further
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.