- 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: 31 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #274,001 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Prioritizing Web Usability 1st Edition
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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.
Top customer reviews
That wasn't what I was looking for. I wanted a REAL critique with REAL suggestions for how to make it better.
When I came across this book it was like an answer to prayer. I devoured it on a cross country flight, and then I followed some of its advice. In the book, they talk about how they worked with people individually, giving them tasks to find or do things online. The people were asked to perform those tasks without any guidance and also while "thinking out loud" ... that is, explaining what their thoughts were re: likes and dislikes, what they expected to see on certain sites, why they were doing what they were doing, etc.
The one piece of advice in this book that they keep suggesting over and over is "do this with your site."
So I did. I instructed some clients on the "think out loud" process, and then gave them the following scenario: "I'm your boss. I just came back from a luncheon and heard Dan Bobinski speak. Here's his card; his website is on there. See if you can find out how much he would charge to come out and work with our managers."
I then sat back and took notes while my clients tried to accomplish that task while they 'thought out loud.'
All I can say is I was devastated. They couldn't find the information. Even when they were on the right track, they couldn't identify the links or the proper info. And when I say I was devastated, I mean I was cut to the core. My website was TERRIBLE.
On the plane ride back I went through the book again, and then made a few changes to my website as soon as I could. I saw improved results almost immediately. I went from getting two or three inquiries from my website each month to getting two or three per week. And, with more changes, it's now up to two or three per day.
My team is now in the final stages of a total (and I mean TOTAL) site redesign based on the suggestions in this book, and it should be ready to launch in a few months. Everyone is excited.
This book retails for $50 ($33 here on Amazon at the time of this writing). That seems steep to some, but I must say, I would gladly pay ten or twenty times that amount for the information it contains. It is probably one of the few books that is literally worth its weight in gold.
If you run a website, or have any say whatsoever in how your website is designed, this book is an absolute must read. That's a "must" with 18" bold Helvetica letters. And get your entire web team to read it, discuss it, and beta test their ideas using Nielsen's and Loranger's suggestions.
If it doesn't pay off for you and you don't think the book was worth it, just get a hold of me and I'll buy the book from you. :-)
Oh -- and the only reason I'm giving it five stars is because I can't give it ten.
The first part of this book focused on revisiting early web usability findings. This dealt with discussing the aspects of web usability that have progressed since his first book. He went through each of them and re-evaluated their score. His scoring method was based on 1-3 skulls, with 3 representing major problems and 1 as not as problematic. He goes through each of them and asserts why (or why not) they received their specific rating. Many of these deal with the basics of web development such as underlining links, using animation or other intensive use of graphical elements, and the structure of pages. I found this section to be a great resource, but the best of the book was still yet to come.
The middle chapters (I would break this book into thirds), discussed assessing your website and potential usability problems. The chapters focused on such things as: Search, Navigation and Information Architecture, Typography, and Writing for the Web. Each of these chapters plunged deep into the root of HOW users interact with each element.
With search, it included such things as where the search box is placed, how it is worded, and how easily results are returned. He examined several sites and their search results - giving feedback to their listing and usefulness. The concept of Search Engine Optimization was also discussed here, giving you insight on how to optimize your internal website to interact with the larger search engines.
Navigation and Information Architecture was interesting, but I don't believe much as changed in the past few years. Users are accustomed to many different elements when browsing a website (a standard, if you will). Many times when this is broken it causes the user to have to stop, spend time THINKING about the site, and then interacting (if they stay in it that long).
Typography was discussed in detail, and I found this to be an informative chapter - even if you are not a designer. It lets you know what fonts are common for web browsers, the difference between serif and sans-serif and its effects on users and their reading pattern, and using case and spacing (and color) to present your content. These are often the little things that are overlooked when developing a website, and he gives several examples of typefaces in page structures.
Writing for the web is somewhat of an art. Many companies rely on marketing `fluff' to get content in place. This strategy is more harmful than helpful as people are in search of your content - and if they get fluff or can't find what they are looking for, they can instantly go to another website. Through this book, and others, I have found that the key to successful copy on the web is `Keep it Short.'
The last part of the book discussed e-commerce, product page structure, using technology that works, and finding design that works. Again, I don't feel that there was anything earth shattering or new mentioned - but re-inforced with up to date websites and common mistakes.
When discussing technology that works, he made mention to accessibility. He states
"An accessible site is one that removes obstacles that get in people's way; removing the obstacle overcomes the disability."
In design that works he emphasizes the `practice of simplicity.' He makes the analogy of interior decorating. He states that
"An amateur decorator might pack a living room with a jumble of furniture styles, patterns, and textures in a misguided attempt to dazzle. In contrast, skilled designers carefully select items that support their clients' needs, ruthlessly eliminating those elements that do not serve a real purpose."
. Basically, assessing each element of your design and asking if it simplifies the user experience or adds value. If it doesn't, then remove it!
The steps to finding a design that works involves evaluating new technology.
"There will always be new technology, but setting your sights too high backfires. Early adopters are a minority."
This book is an invaluable resource for anyone doing web development and is highly recommended if you want to really understand your users and their habits. It is a fairly quick read and is packed with up-to-date screenshots and statistics.
Most recent customer reviews
no there good information to takes from it
i am sad > >