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Prioritizing Web Usability 1st Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 078-5342350319
ISBN-10: 0321350316
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Jakob Nielsen is a principal of the Nielsen Norman Group and has been called "the world's leading expert on Web usability" by U.S. News and World Report. His Alertbox column has been published on the Internet since 1995 (www.useit.com). A previous Sun Microsystems Distinguished Engineer, Nielsen is the author of numerous books, including the worldwide best-seller Designing Web Usability (New Riders, 2000).

Hoa Loranger is a User Experience Specialist at Nielsen Norman Group. Loranger consults with well-known companies in various industries including finance, customer support, and entertainment. She conducts international usability research worldwide and gives keynote presentations and tutorials on a variety of Web usability topics. She has also co-authored numerous reports on topics ranging from teenagers' use of the Web to the design of Flash-based applications.


Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: New Riders; 1 edition (April 30, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321350316
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321350312
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 0.8 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #784,178 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By N. Skwortsow on June 1, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book seems more like an updated edition of the previous book. It does not contain many new thoughts.

+ concisely written and well-illustrated

- poor use of popular language (e.g. "lame") at times.

- not much new content, compared to the 1999 "Web Usability" book by Nielsen

- too many references to other reports & seminars which can be purchased from Nielsen/Norman Group. I don't buy a book to receive a sales brochure from a company.

- the book states that you should use "everyday" users to test an "everyday" website. However, in several of the quoted user statements, users use such terms as "I don't think this is user friendly" which sound more like a technical opinion, rather than an empirical fact.

- It seems that some reviews are biased, mainly the one for the Social Security website.

- Some of the websites chosen to review are low-traffic and amateuristic websites. I would have preferred larger websites for all screenshots.

- It's unclear which parts Nielsen wrote, and which parts his associate. I'm afraid that Nielsen lent his name for the cover only.


I've read all of Nielsen's books and I would not

recommend this one since it does not hold as many fundamentals as his 1999 book.

His previous co-authored book on homepages is a well-written and beautifully illustrated book.
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Format: Paperback
I have been waiting for a new Jakob Nielsen book for years after particularly enjoying the 50 homepages deconstructed book by him. It was with eager anticipation that I first started to read it. However, I was disppointed for many reasons:

- The first 100 pages are pretty obvious to anyone who is at all into website usability, it just talks about improvements made to usability, with little thought given to new usability problems that have appeared since his last book.

- The case studies are good, but he doesn't conduct a big enough sample group. 50 homepages book did this way better, and for bigger and more industry standard websites.

- The last few chapters have very little real direction and seem to have just been bolted on to make the book longer. Almost left a sour taste in my mouth when I finished, making me think, 'hmmm, tell me something I didn't already know'.

If you have already read his first book, then I would seriously recommend his '50 homepages deconstructed' book over this. Way more informative with many more action items in it.

He also continues to ignore critical areas of 'why and how' you need to improve usability - to increase lead generation and sales. This has way more of an impact for most businesses. Books like 'Call to Action' by Brian Eisenberg do a much better job of this and provide you with more action items to improve websites.

I'm disappointed Jakob....
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Format: Paperback
This is the updated version to Jakob Nielsens "Designing Web Usability : The Practice of Simplicity" which came out back in 1999. That book was one of the first books of its kind in reviewing how users view the web and how web designers should create web pages. This book updates many of his guidelines to the current web.

This book starts out (Chapter 1) giving a brief explanation of how the testing was done (69 users around the world), and what websites were included in the tests. Each user was given various tasks to accomplish for each web site and was studied on how they accomplished each task. It then focuses on the importance of user testing on web sites. Personally, I've always felt that unless the website is a large commercial type site (e-commerce), user testing was a waste of time and money. Boy was I wrong...

The next chapter is honestly the best in my opinion because it gives lots of great information on how users look at a website and how long they will give until the move on to another. People that don't design websites really don't realize how little time they have to grab the user's attention so they will use the site and come back to it over and over again. Jakob talks about the importance of your homepage and the average time users spend on it (25-35 seconds) and what can be done to improve the user experience. Then website page snapshots are shown on how users read web pages content. People don't actually read entire web pages content, they scan it. I never knew that...

The rest of Chapter 2 talks about the importance of Search Engine results and how many pages users will go through in order to find what they are looking for (trust me it isn't a lot). I learned more in reading this chapter than I have in years of web design and surfing.
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Format: Paperback
Ten years ago, the Web was exciting to people. Today it's routine. It's a tool. If it's convenient, they will use it; if not, they won't. Users are getting less tolerant of difficult sites, so every design flaw means lost business. Thus, usability has more more important than ever.

This is the introduction of the reviewed book and I fully agree that it is time we prioritize Web usability. Of course, we all know about the fact that usability is important, but are we only paying lip service to the issue. When we decide between great design and great us-ability issues there's is often a trade-off. How often do we accept a lower level of usability in order to show off cool design? By the way, it is not that difficult to measure: Can people use the site at all? Test it!

Author Jakob Nielsen has a world-class reputation as Web usability expert since 1995 and this book co-authored by Hoa Loranger proves that he is still going strong.

A "practice of simplicity" has always been characterizing Jakob Nielsen's approach to us-ability. A picture is worth a 1000 words and thus the authors has filled this book with new screen shots that show what design mistakes we should avoid. The authors' visualizing and keeping it simple approach makes this book very easy to digest. If you have your own Web site you probably cannot help browsing your own web site to find design mistakes.

After having read this book with a huge number of best practices, why do you still need to do your own user testing?
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