Table of Contents:
Introduction: Why Web Usability?
Accessibility for Users with Disabilities
International Use: Serving a Global Audience
Future Predictions: The Only Web Constant is Change
Conclusion: Simplicity in Web Design
analyticalQ book review by Anne Ku
Designing Web Usability: The Practice of Simplicity
by Jakob Nielsen, PhD
Copyright © 2000, paperback 420 pages
5 August 2000
Anyone involved in designing, building, and providing content for websites MUST read this book. It is well-designed, easy to read, and full of wisdom and examples. The websites mentioned are usually well-known websites. Despite this, Nielsen has plenty of constructive criticism. No site is perfect. Indeed we can learn from each.
Unlike his website http://www.useit.com which is all text (even containing spelling mistakes and typos), this book is well-written and well-illustrated, fit for a reference manual. As he has conducted extensive usability surveys and tests, he is able to back his advice with statistical evidence. For example, more than half of web users are search dominant (use search engines as they know what they are looking for), about a fifth are link dominant, and the remaining are mixed.
The chapters most applicable to my current curiosity are page design, content design, and conclusion: simplicity in web design. Most of the messages are of the AH!!!! type. In other words, they seem like common sense, but how we get it wrong. It leads me to the conclusion that most web-designers and builders suffer from ethonocentricism. We fail to understand that we must design for the user NOT for our own ego. Many of his messages I've heard before, but packaged together, they make bullet sense. Nielsen's motto is HOME RUN, the goals of web design must be:
Some other nibbles of wisdom: