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A decade of good website design
Dr Jakob Nielsen looks back at the last 10 years
The Cricketer




msg:850523
 12:25 pm on Dec 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

A decade of good website design
[news.bbc.co.uk ]
BBC News

Usability guru Dr Jakob Nielsen says some things have stayed constant in the past decade, namely the principles of what makes a site easy to use.

 

SlyGuy




msg:850524
 12:34 am on Dec 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

Some design crimes, such as splash screens that get between a user and the site they are trying to visit, and web designers indulging their artistic urges have almost disappeared, said Dr Nielsen.

While I agree with splash screens being a design crime, I can't imagine what the web would look like if web designers didn't "indulge their artistic urges"

Mind you, this is coming from the same guy who has yellow and cyan as the background colours on his website :o

Sly.

Mr Bo Jangles




msg:850525
 2:03 am on Dec 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

I don't think Dr Nielsen should be making any further comment about good website design until he gives his appalling looking site a 'makeover' - his site may well be 100% functionality, and 100% function over form, but these days a site that looks as bad as his does just afronts the first time visitor.

It is possible Dr Nielsen to get a site that looks half decent and is functionally sound, and with good usability - until you do just that, you lose a deal of credibility.

The Cricketer




msg:850526
 9:35 am on Dec 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

I completely agree, I like your opinions. I can't believe Nielson is such an authority on the design of websites (usability) and yet his website....well let's just say a 'boring' look isn't exactly the best idea to attract the reader.

It doesn't really matter that a wide range of people can use the site without a problem, if some don't end up reading the content due to it's plain look......

"Subconciously there are many who feel that if a design is boring, then the content probably is too. " The Cricketer 2004

Dr Nielson
Usability = Top Marks
Aesthetically pleasing design = nearer to 1994 than 2004.

saoi_jp




msg:850527
 9:49 am on Dec 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

his site

As it stands, his site can only be faulted for having no design. Once he has something with more than a "pure function" design, then he opens himself up to the same criticism he's been dishing out over the years.

timchuma




msg:850528
 3:08 am on Dec 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

I'm waiting for the sequel by Vincent Flanders (Web Pages That Suck) "A Decade of Bad Design".

For myself when I first started using the web and had a web page hosted on the university server (the instructions were sent around via email) in 1995, I never would have imagined I would eventually be able to buy my own domain name and hosting space to host my site.

Thanks.

maxxtraxx




msg:850529
 6:22 pm on Dec 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

i cringe everytime i visit useit.com but his advice is top notch.

i agree with saoi_jp, once he makes any attempt at a "look" he will be critiqued. the man makes his living at critisizing others so i'm sure he won't allow his site to be a target.

that said, there are plenty of excellent/great-looking sites that load fast and use web/usability stadards to enhance their user experience. a great place to start is zeldman.com

Debbie_King




msg:850530
 4:34 pm on Dec 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

Why is it always the web designer who gets blamed for "bad" web site design, rather than the customer who specified to the person who was designing their site exactly what they wanted?

I have done several sites for customers - they are paying me, so I have to do the sites exactly to their (sometimes appalling) specifications. It's no good pointing out to them that something is bad design, e.g. a hit counter - if they WANT a hit counter on their page, then I just have to give them a hit counter.

Some of the sites I've done I would CRINGE if anyone ever associated them with me, but at the end of the day I've got a happy customer who thinks I've done a good job for them.

skipfactor




msg:850531
 5:02 pm on Dec 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

Dr Nielsen said the success of sites such as Google, Amazon, eBay and Yahoo showed that close attention to design and user needs was important.

None of them have a fancy or glamorous look," he added, declaring himself surprised that these sites have not been more widely copied.

I'm surprised too. If most of a site's referrals come from Google, why not resemble Google? Plain, easy & fast sells.

>>i cringe everytime i visit useit.com

The longer I do this the more I like Mr Nielsen's site. Do webmasters/surfers mature to design/prefer 'ugly' sites?

sun818




msg:850532
 5:08 pm on Dec 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

I don't mind his site. I'm concerned more about the design of my site and how I can apply the usability concepts to it.

The Cricketer




msg:850533
 7:10 pm on Dec 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

We're all concerned about that sun818 (well most of us) it's just nice to state such an opinion once in a while.

PatrickKerby




msg:850534
 2:13 am on Dec 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

I share a few different opinions, but here are the words from the man himself.

As taken directly from useit.com

1. Download times rule the Web, and since most users have access speeds on the order of 28.8 kbps, Web pages can be no more than 3 KB if they are to download in one second which is the required response time for hypertext navigation. Users do not keep their attention on the page if downloading exceeds 10 seconds, corresponding to 30 KB at modem speed. Keeping below these size limits rules out most graphics.
2. I am not a visual designer, so my graphics would look crummy anyway. Since this website is created by myself (and not by a multidisciplinary team as I always recommend for large sites) I didn't want to spend money to hire an artist.

SlyGuy




msg:850535
 6:27 pm on Dec 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

Dr Nielsen said the success of sites such as Google, Amazon, eBay and Yahoo showed that close attention to design and user needs was important.

Okay.......

Download times rule the Web ... Web pages can be no more than 3 KB if they are to download in one second which is the required response time for hypertext navigation. Users do not keep their attention on the page if downloading exceeds 10 seconds ... Keeping below these size limits rules out most graphics.

So, I quickly checked download times (using an online tool) for Amazon, eBay and Yahoo..

Amazon:
28.8k - 97.45 seconds
56k - 50.12 seconds

eBay:
28.8k - 93.55 seconds
56k - 48.30 seconds

Yahoo:
28.8k - 19.68 seconds
56k - 10.12 seconds

Do webmasters/surfers mature to design/prefer 'ugly' sites?

Maybe not 'ugly', but I've certainly matured to appreciate usability and simplicity more.

unbeatabletechnology




msg:850536
 1:34 am on Jan 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

Slyguy,

What did you use to check the page loading time on those sites?

-Mike

SlyGuy




msg:850537
 5:05 am on Jan 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

Mike,

While I can't post the URL here at WebmasterWorld, if you were to use a logical combination of keywords (eg: page loading times) in a major search engine ..I think you'd be able to figure it out.. ;)

On a sidenote, I would like to add that those times were recorded just days before Christmas, while the websites in question had Christmas shopping graphics plastered about.

Sly.

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