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View Poll Results: Jakob Neilsen...

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  • ... I love him

    7 15.91%
  • ... I hate him

    13 29.55%
  • ... I've never heard of him

    4 9.09%
  • ... I only agree with some of the stuff he says

    19 43.18%
  • ... I couldn't care less

    1 2.27%
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  1. #26
    ComDude CryingWolf's Avatar
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    You know I really don't find his site all that user friendly. First I find the columes to be a little tight. ie hard to focus.

    You know his talk about making a site to busy with pictures? Did he ever talk about making a site to busy with links???

    Oh yeah it maybe printer friendly all right but then with all them links you just might be missing something??? Guess you will have to download and print his whole site then put numbers to all the links to tell you what page to turn to???
    body { background:#000000; color:#000000 }
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  2. #27
    SitePoint Enthusiast showpony's Avatar
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    Graphical layout of images is what most people think of as design, yet typography and use of space and colour (how does Jakob Neilson get away with using the colours he does? And how to people find information in that huge mass of text?) are equally important in the design process.

    Following Neilson's 'rules' for usability, every web page out there would be similar enough to be difficult to readily distingush from many others, hence not really being usable for identification purposes.

    Instant brand recognition through colour and image cues allow people to go to the sites they want much quicker than having to scan content to see if the site they are looking at is really the one they want.

  3. #28
    SitePoint Addict Percipient's Avatar
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    I'd never heard of him before this thread, so I visited his site to find out. My first thought was, "Who puked in that cell?" After that, I didn't know where to go. I wasn't drawn to leave the first page, except for to leave the site entirely. I read his thing about why there were no images on his site, and wondered how many people are so impatient that a web page must load in one second. I know a lot of people are impatient, but sheesh, I've waited longer than that for a page to load to see it when I was bustin' my bladder to go to the bathroom. One second. Hmph!
    Ed Rands

  4. #29
    SitePoint Zealot Lorina's Avatar
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    Personally, I think his site looks icky. Yep. That's my technical critique.

    I have a background in commercial art. I know good design. I know composition. I know about layouts, color, and balance. And I know that putting something on a computer doesn't make all those rules of design and composition go away.

    If I had submitted a painting with a composition like his web site to my professors in art school, I would have been laughed at. Splitting a design 50/50 down the middle like that, and with such bad colors, is a no-no. The eye doesn't know where to go first. There's no flow.

    While having an art background alone does not make one a good web devoloper, having only knowledge of html without knowing what good design & composition is, is just as bad. All websites have a purpose: To make people want to view them. And, therefore, all the rules that apply to other visual media also applies to web design. There's not a great deal of difference between a good template for a magazine or newspaper or an advertisement (print or video) and that of a website, except that you (more or less) have to deal with more boundries with websites.

    Think of it like furniture building. Anyone can make a chair. All you need is a block of wood for the seat and four legs. Maybe a back. But it takes a good carpenter to make a sturdy chair that's going to hold up. And it takes someone with some kind of talent for design to make a chair that's going to look nice. No one is going to be interested in an ugly chair, and no one is going to want a pretty chair they can't sit in. Both skills are important. Just like web design. You need someone who knows both how to use the raw materials (in this case, codes) and has the skills to make it look nice.

    In my opinion, Neilsen's does not look nice.
    Cheese-N-Rice - A daily comic strip.

  5. #30
    Gong!
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    Not all print design rule apply automatically to web design. It would be wonderful to offer information, which is viewable with your Nokia Communicator or with the 2GHz computer you have next to you.

    Unfortunately people have decided that this can't happen - by designing pages, which don't scale to the screen width, using frames and other technologies (such as flash) to construct most important parts of the site (ie. navigation) thus making it impossible to browse with a device, which doesn't have it enabled (I think that for example PDA's don't support Flash on too large scale anyway ).

    Funniest thing is that you can't really make web site to look exactly the same as you intended to - I have noticed differences even if the site is being viewed on same os, browser and screen resolution - print media doesn't change to every viewer, web does.

    Another what has been lately on the news is that today's web sites are way too cluttered and people are having hard time to focus on the content itself. Perhaps the right term is information overload - web designers try to fit as much information as possible to a small area, basically making it look like a newspaper - cluttered one.

    Businesses are starting to realize the need for user-friendly web sites and the importance of keeping the site simple and well organized. Perhaps there are reason for that? It's not only Jakob Nielsen, who is preaching about sites designed for users - not for designer. And I have seen a lot of complains that web sites are getting very heavy, they load slow, it's hard to find the thing you're looking for and they basically look like a huge cluttered page full of advertisements, small text and a lot of columns.

    I won't comment about the Nielsen issue even though it's the topic here, but I find it rather funny that people are criticizing him itself the ideas he has presented - for example it's pretty much the same thing when people don't have enough arguments left and they start blaming the other for his incapabilities (like making a high-tech flash site).

    Excuse me, but I don't want to flame somebody I don't even know - instead I'm willing to discuss about the ideas, such as user-friendliness and simple approach to design instead.

    If you can't think anything else than Neilsen sUks!!!!! or saying "I haven't heard much about him, but I hate him" and going with the rest of the crowd, you can guide the message to /dev/null/ and save the trouble of reading it.

    Therefore I suggest about starting another thread about the ideas itself - not the person. This one could be closed on my behalf.
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  6. #31
    SitePoint Zealot Lorina's Avatar
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    I can't discuss his ideas alone without mentioning what his own site looks like. It's not user friendly. The design of it doesn't help the reader... It doesn't guide the user's eye to the most important part of the site. When I look at that design, my eye goes right to the center of the page; not to the left column and not to the right.

    Of course a site should be designed to load fast and be available to the highest percentage of users possible. No one is saying that it shouldn't. But what appeals to the end user is more than just a quick load time. The visual is important.

    Should we not do something on our website that would appeal to 90% of our audience just because 10% can't access it? It definitely depends on the site. But, just like life, you can't be 100% fair to everyone. There's going to be rides at the amusement park that some people can't ride. There's going to be some foods that some people can't eat. There's going to be some trails that some people can't hike. And there's going to be some web sites that some people can't view, whether it's due to their choice of browsers, their connectivity, their location, or a physical impairment.

    And of course not every aspect of print media can be applied to websites. Bah... I wish it could, it would make my life easier -- I wouldn't have to try to explain to clients why we can't make something look exactly the same on all computers. But it is absolutely true that what appeals to someone's eye off the computer is still going to appeal to them on the computer. (Hence, the popularity of adult sites. ) A site with a catchy logo and a design that draws the user to the most important part of the content is going to be more appealing to most people than plain text.

    All I'm saying is that neither extreme -- a site with no graphics and bad visual design or a site with too many graphics and doo-dads -- is not the ideal we should be aiming for. But if long load times and too many graphics and sound were really a problem, why do more people know about the Hamster Dance and Mahir than Jakob Neilsen? He may be able to charge oodles of cash for a consultation, but he's not a household word.
    Cheese-N-Rice - A daily comic strip.

  7. #32
    SitePoint Addict Macromedia's Avatar
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    I think any good web designer thinks about the end-user when they are designing their website. Good web designers make sure that their site loads fast, looks attractive, is not cluttered and is available to older browsers. But, any good web designer knows that you will not be able to please everyone if they want to make their site look good.

    I do not think that Nielsen is a good we designer. Look at his site, it is not good design....

    If you put up a poll asking normal internet users if they liked a site like DynMail.com more than UseIt.com most would probaly say DynMail.com, I know I would... And yet, DynMail uses images, probably takes a second longer to load than UseIt.com uses CSS and Javascript and is probably not compatibe with older browsers...

    About cluttering. I agree some websites are way to clutered! About.com is a good example. A lot text advertisments on both sides of the page. I didn't like the site at first, but i use it regularly now, as I have gotten used to it. And it is one of the internet's top 10 visited sites (I think it's #6)...

    (Edited to include the fact tha Dynamil.com includes CSS and Javascript.)
    Last edited by Macromedia; Mar 15, 2001 at 15:11.
    -Nick

  8. #33
    Gong!
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    Originally posted by Macromedia
    I do not think that Nielsen is a good we designer. Look at his site, it is not good design....
    He doesn't even claim to be good designer and he doesn't call himself one. Perhaps the Alertbox looks pretty dismal, but it is very clear, has a logical syntax, it is fast and not to mention the fact that you can actually hit the print button and get it to paper without seeing half of the site getting cutted off at the right. No, I don't say that this kind of style is suitable and "the best" for every site, but it fits to this one for sure.

    If you put up a poll asking normal internet users if they liked a site like DynMail.com more than UseIt.com most would probaly say DynMail.com - -
    But why I would like to compare my site and UseIt? They really can't be compared due to huge distance between the topics the sites cover.
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  9. #34
    SitePoint Wizard creole's Avatar
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    CryingWolf...don't know where you got your syntax checker from, but even it is wrong.
    Error: an attribute value must be quoted if it contains any character other than letters (A-Za-z), digits, hyphens, and periods; use quotes if in doubt
    According to the XML/xHTML spec, ALL values must be qouted, ALL tags must be in lower case, etc...you probably already knew this since you knew what SGML was...just pointing it out though.
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  10. #35
    ComDude CryingWolf's Avatar
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    The syntax checker was the W3C html validator! I don't know if it is good or correct? I did it to be a little childish

    I have seen very few sites that can actually pass that thing enough to put that stupid button on thier site.

    Late
    body { background:#000000; color:#000000 }
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    CryingWolf

  11. #36
    SitePoint Addict Macromedia's Avatar
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    Originally posted by hmahonen
    He doesn't even claim to be good designer and he doesn't call himself one. Perhaps the Alertbox looks pretty dismal, but it is very clear, has a logical syntax, it is fast and not to mention the fact that you can actually hit the print button and get it to paper without seeing half of the site getting cutted off at the right. No, I don't say that this kind of style is suitable and "the best" for every site, but it fits to this one for sure.


    Well, design is a pretty important part of the web today. As I have stated, the best designers know how to make a site look good and be compatible with as many browsers as possible. Nielsen may have the compatibility part down, but he certainly doesn't have th good design part down... Anyhow, I'm just repeating myself

    Originally posted by hmahonen
    But why I would like to compare my site and UseIt? They really can't be compared due to huge distance between the topics the sites cover.
    I mean just the design. I didn't make that very clear in my original post... I don't think there is really another site like Nielsen's, so you can't really compare his site very well, I guess...

    [Edited because I screwed up ]
    Last edited by Macromedia; Mar 15, 2001 at 21:34.
    -Nick

  12. #37
    Grumpy Mole Man Skunk's Avatar
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    Hehe, I started this thread partly to get a few people's opinions and partly to try out the poll system (should be setting up vBulletin 2.0 at work shortly). Didn't expect it to turn into this huge monster of a discussion!

    Makes great reading though. I still fundamentally agree with a lot of the stuff Neilsen says but at the end of the day most of it is really just common sense. Personally I think the phrase "design for the users, not the designers" should be engraved on every webmaster's skull... There's nothing more frustrating than trying to get information out of a site that's been coated in special effects, transitions, Flash and nasty javascripts.


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