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  1. #1
    Don't get too close, I bite! Nicky's Avatar
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    BBC stages usability vs design punch-up

    When the BBC's website published an attack on Jakob Nielsen's views by web artist Joshua Davis, the usability expert felt a comeback was in order. "I'd beat [Nielsen] up if I saw him" said Davis in the original piece, but the tone of Nielsen's response is as measured as one would expect from a man advocating simplicity and access for all.

    Nonetheless he is critical of Davis' views, who dismissed the tenets of usability by saying "I don't want to assume that everyone is the average idiot."

    The piece makes entertaining, if familiar, reading and author John Walton wrily observes that Nielsen and Davis may not be as far apart as they were.

    'Both men have recently relaunched their websites,' writes Walton.

    'Davis's praystation.com has warmed in tone. It is still a site that demands persistence, but now it actually has a page setting out what the site is all about. A concession to usability perhaps?

    'On the other side of the fence, Nielsen has updated his site nngroup.com. Of course, it is still as usable as ever, but now it actually looks much nicer too.'

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/in_...00/1779849.stm

  2. #2
    SitePoint Guru
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    Very interesting article. Thanks for posting it. I think that where Davis and Nielsen might be kind of extreme in their respective views it's true that on a lot of sites the two things are coming together a bit. At least I hope so.

    Nonetheless he is critical of Davis' views, who dismissed the tenets of usability by saying "I don't want to assume that everyone is the average idiot."
    I had an interesting conversation this weekend. It was with a woman I know who is far from an idiot. She's a brilliant professional woman, but would like web designers and software designers alike to assume she's an idiot, because she and many of her colleagues don't have time to do the learning that computer people assume everyone should. She said that having programs to use at work isn't adding to productivity and in fact the reverse is sometimes true, because the learning curve is too high and people just plain don't have time if their days are filled with other things. She doesn't want to have to figure out how to "work" a website either. She wants her path clearly defined, doesn't care about animations or effects, wants information or function, as simply and quickly as possible.

    She went on to say that she feels there's a real disconnect between the IT world and the rest of the world as far as how much should be expected of the average user in terms of their desire to learn and the time they have to spend on it.


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