Designing Web Usability
Jakob Nielsen s Designing Web Usability could become the Strunk and White for Web page designers. But it will have to undergo an update, perhaps in the eBook format to which Nielsen alludes in the preface. Old screen shots of popular Web sites and a lack of any model-view-controller abstractions wrinkle this otherwise blemish-free title. However, it s these before-and-after color screen captures that best convey the author s simple design principles.
The book contains some real gems that seem obvious once they re revealed. One big no-no I now realize is the Click here hyperlink. The chapter on Accessibility taught me how frustrating this design flaw can be for the visually impaired audience. And adding the file size of a large file to its corresponding hyperlink label, thereby setting retrieval time expectations, is another example of the book s many valuable suggestions.
Considering all the useful hints Nielsen provides, I was expecting his site at http://www.useit.com to be a shining example of all these principles put into practice. It is, but to an extreme that is nearly as unattractive as the botched efforts denounced in his work.
By Mike Riley
Designing Web Usability: The Practice of Simplicity by Jakob Nielsen, New Riders Publishing, http://www.newriders.com.
Cover Price: US$45.00