Designing Web Usability: The Practice of Simplicity Paperback – 20 Dec 1999
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Creating Web sites is easy. Creating sites that truly meet the needs and expectations of the wide range of online users is quite another story. In Designing Web Usability: The Practice of Simplicity, renowned Web usability guru Jakob Nielsen shares his insightful thoughts on the subject. Packed with annotated examples of actual Web sites, this book sets out many of the design precepts all Web developers should follow.
This guide segments discussions of Web usability into page, content, site, and intranet design. This breakdown skilfully isolates for the reader many subtly different challenges that are often mixed together in other discussions. For example, Nielsen addresses the requirements of viewing pages on varying monitor sizes separately from writing concise text for "scannability". Along the way, the author pulls no punches with his opinions, using phrases like "frames: just say no" to immediately make his feelings known. Fortunately, his advice is some of the best you'll find.
One of the unique aspects of this title is the use of actual statistics to buttress the author's opinions on various techniques and technologies. He includes survey results on sizes of screens, types of queries submitted to search portals, response times by connection type and more. This book is intended as the first of two volumes--focusing on the "what". The author promises a follow-up title that will show the "hows", and based on this installation, we can't wait. --Stephen W. Plain, amazon.com
Topics covered: Cross-platform design, response time considerations, writing for the Web, multimedia implementation, navigation strategies, search boxes, corporate intranet design, accessibility for disabled users, international considerations, and future predictions.
"Robust advice on designing for maximum speed and simplicity. Well, illustrated, bracingly opinionated and riveting."www.mantex.co.uk, Sep 2001 "Anybody who has the slightest interest in web pages, site design, and information architeture should read this book. I feel quite confident that it is destined to become a classic."www.mantex.co.uk, 2000 "If you want to know about usability and the Web, this is obviously the place to come to. Very well designed, plenty of white space with numerous coloured illustrations of real Web pages. Overall, it is a pleasure to browse it."http://informationr.net, August 2001See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Had I made this assumption about five or six years ago, I may have been correct.
Sadly, this book is let down by an extremely dated outlook, which belies the author's "future-proof" claim that the principles advocated in this book will remain important regardless of technological progression. Certainly, some of the broader doctrines it advocates will always retain their relevance (such as the importance of creating simple user-centric designs) but these are sadly obscured by some spurious predictions and a seemingly complete lack of foresight towards some of the major advancements in web technology (such as the massive uptake of broadband, and the use of CSS for anything other than styling fonts and table cells).
Such woeful inaccuracies could be overlooked by virtue of the fact that this book was first published in 1999 (not an incredibly long time in any other subject matter, but an entire lifetime in the field of web design). Nevertheless, if an author is willing to retain a book on the market (without any significant overhaul other than a pithy preface) then they must be prepared to face the criticism, comparison and scrutiny that will inevitably ensue. Thus, despite the bet-hedging get-out clauses with which the author laces his final chapter, statements as ludicrous as "we have to wait until approximately the year 2007 for books to go away and be fully replaced with online information", will always colour the reader's judgment towards the book's other less questionable claims.Read more ›
Mr Nielsen may be a capable web designer - certainly he covers a number of good design points - but this book is about his opinion on what web design should become in the future and it is not supported by usibility studies. A few times in the book, he casually mentions that 'field studies have come to the same conclusion' over one point or another, but fails to give details of which studies, when they were conducted, on what range of subject etc. thereby stopping readers from deciding whether the conclusion is applicable to the target audience of their current project.
The main thrust of the book, logically enough, is that sites should be designed for the user rather than the designer or his employer. Things should be put where the user expects to find them rather than just where the designer thinks it will look good. Whilst this could be seen to limit artistic design, it is a sensible tenet within a book about usibility. But then Mr Nielsen says (on page 178) 'On all interior pages, the logo should be clickable and linked to the home page. Unfortunately, not all users understand the use of the logo as a link to the home page and it will take a while until this convention is fully established.' Considering his assertion that pages should be tailored to the user and not the reverse, this (and a few similar examples) cast doubt on the author's credibility (a topic that he covers well in the book).Read more ›
An excellent source and summary of this book can be found at his website... which is where much of this book comes from
Overall an excellent read, and a must have
While what he says about user behaviour is enourmously useful to any web designer, he doesn't really consider the design of sites that aren't trying to sell anything. If you're only trying to present information, or provide entertainment, there's not a whole heap of help for you here. And, oh boy, is this guy confident of his own expertise!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great book and gives a grounded understanding of Web Usability and UX. However, as this was written in 1997, it is a little outdated and the website examples are basic at... Read morePublished on 7 Dec. 2013 by Daniel Reed
Designing Web Usability by Jakob Nielsen.Did the job of informing me on web designing and everything that goes with it.Published on 12 Feb. 2013 by BERNARD CLARKE
Good book. You can think it's an old book, but Usability is always on top. Give it a chance. read it.Published on 10 Feb. 2012 by Amazon Customer
This book explains the rudiments of usability on the web with examples of best practice. Anyone developing projects for the web should heed the advice in these pages. Read morePublished on 14 April 2003 by Zabaman
If you are planning to design a website for your company, or indeed if your company already has a web site, you must read this book. Read morePublished on 17 Dec. 2002 by P. Jones
I manage a web site for large company and this book is our Bible. It is probably the most insightful book on web design I've ever read read. Read morePublished on 25 Jun. 2002
...This is the web design equivalent of 'What they don't teach you at Harvard business school'
As a designer, you must read this before commencing on any serious design. Read more
Don't you get tired of reading all those books that warble and and on until you get lost and wonder what it was the author was actually trying to say? Well I do! Read morePublished on 20 Jun. 2001
I like this book. When I bought it, I knew what I was expecting. As seen on the cover, it doesn't provide sophisticated effects and looks, at first, to be really plain and... Read morePublished on 6 May 2001
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