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Designing Web Usability

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New approaches for crafting effective sites. This book is a tutorial and exposition of the principles of Web site design. It aids users in building web sites that stand out from the noise of the web and bring them to the content in an effective and efficient way. This four-color book gives substantial critiques of existing Web site designs.

432 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 2000

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About the author

Jakob Nielsen

44 books67 followers
Jakob Nielsen is a leading web usability consultant. He holds a Ph.D. in human-computer interaction from the Technical University of Denmark in Copenhagen. He is also the principal of the Nielsen Norman Group which he co-founded with Dr. Donald A. Norman (former VP of research at Apple Computer). Before starting NNG in 1998 he was a Sun Microsystems Distinguished Engineer.

Nielsen founded the "discount usability engineering" movement for fast and cheap improvements of user interfaces and has invented several usability methods, including heuristic evaluation. He holds 79 United States patents, mainly on ways of making the Web easier to use.

Nielsen has also given his five quality components of Usability Goals, which are: Learnability, Efficiency, Memorability, Errors (as in low error rate), Satisfaction.

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5 stars
305 (26%)
4 stars
469 (40%)
3 stars
289 (24%)
2 stars
84 (7%)
1 star
21 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 39 reviews
Profile Image for Jarrodtrainque.
62 reviews2 followers
September 12, 2007
Creating Web sites is easy. Creating sites that truly meet the needs and expectations of the wide range of online users is quite another story. In Designing Web Usability: The Practice of Simplicity, renowned Web usability guru Jakob Nielsen shares his insightful thoughts on the subject. Packed with annotated examples of actual Web sites, this book sets out many of the design precepts all Web developers should follow./ This guide segments discussions of Web usability into page, content, site, and intranet design. This breakdown skillfully isolates for the reader many subtly different challenges that are often mixed together in other discussions. For example, Nielsen addresses the requirements of viewing pages on varying monitor sizes separately from writing concise text for "scanability." Along the way, the author pulls no punches with his opinions, using phrases like "frames: just say no" to immediately make his feelings known. Fortunately, his advise is some of the best you'll find./ One of the unique aspects of this title is the use of actual statistics to buttress the author's opinions on various techniques and technologies. He includes survey results on sizes of screens, types of queries submitted to search portals, response times by connection type and more. This book is intended as the first of two volumes--focusing on the "what." The author promises a follow-up title that will show the "hows" and, based on this installation, we can't wait. --Stephen W. Plain/ Topics covered: Cross-platform design, response time considerations, writing for the Web, multimedia implementation, navigation strategies, search boxes, corporate intranet design, accessibility for disabled users, international considerations, and future predictions./
Profile Image for Jorge Andrade.
12 reviews6 followers
July 29, 2010
Jakob Nielsen busca en este libro entregar los lineamientos mínimos que debe considerar un desarrollador/diseñador al momento de crear una web. El libro lleva su tiempo, fue publicado en el año 2000, sin embargo los tópicos están planteados de tal forma que, manteniendo las proporciones, las conclusiones extraídas son tan válidas ahora como hace 8 años atrás. En mi caso, a medida que avanzaba en la lectura, visualizaba lo desarrollado anteriormente encontrando diversas falencias que en su momento estaban ocultas bajo el velo de la ignorancia.

El contenido de la obra se divide en nueve partes:

1. Introducción ¿Por qué la usabilidad?
2. Diseño de página
3. Diseño de contenido
4. Diseño del sitio
5. Diseño de intranets
6. Accesibilidad de los usuarios con discapacidades
7. Utilización internacional: atender a una audiencia global
8. Predicciones para el futuro: la única constante en la web es el cambio
9. Conclusión: simplicidad en el diseño web

En cada una de ellas Nielsen, a costa de ejemplos de capturas de pantalla de sitios, va indicando diversos errores y cómo deberían ser resueltos para mejorar la usabilidad. Los ejemplos son de la época, pero aún nos encontramos con muchos de ellos en la Web de hoy.

A veces el libro se torna repetitivo, denso pero es de alguna manera tolerable. En este sentido faltó por parte de Nielsen, paradójicamente, una consideración hacia al usuario, de todas formas es absolutamente recomendable su lectura, ya que nos abre un horizonte distinto que permite desarrollar aplicaciones amigables con el usuario, cosa que siempre olvidamos.
Profile Image for Jeremiah.
11 reviews10 followers
September 6, 2008
If you have anything to do with creating web sites or screen interfaces you need to read this book. Though the specifics and examples are often dated (published in 2000) the concepts still hold true.

Even if you don't care much for the tech details, you might find it interesting to learn why it is that some sites frustrate you and are more difficult to use.

A lot of my opinions and perceptions about web sites were formed or confirmed in this book.

I ordered this with a bunch of other graphic design books years ago as part of a book club.
Profile Image for Graham Herrli.
96 reviews67 followers
May 22, 2013
Nielsen writes at the beginning of this book that he aims to express principles that endure, yet even so, much of the book is outdated by now (fourteen years later). Nevertheless, from a historical perspective, it's a reasonably interesting snapshot of the state of the field of usability in 1999.

There is one section (pages 350-2) where Nielsen makes a list of predictions about how the internet will impact the future world. It's a fascinating read because there are predictions that are spot-on alongside predictions that are laughably far off. The list is food for thought because it remains to be seen whether some of the predictions will come true.

Having been published fourteen years ago (during which time the field of web usability has changed considerably) means that most of the information in the book is useless because either {1} it is now outdated or else {2} it is so obvious by this point that it goes without saying. Some things the book says that may still apply are:
Profile Image for Paul Sidwell.
49 reviews3 followers
September 20, 2010
A great read for anyone involved in website design. True, some of the stats are irrelevant now, mostly due to the prolific availability of broadband internet connections, but his points remain the same: Keep it simple, and design it for your user.

A great complimentary book to this one is "Don't Make Me Think", by Steve Krug. Read my blog post about it here: http://thepointoffire.blogspot.com/20...
Profile Image for DWRL Library.
37 reviews7 followers
December 14, 2010
Despite its 1999 publication date, this is a still-applicable guide to designing usable websites. It examines numerous examples to highlight the most critical design issues at the page and site levels, showing how they can work together to create an effective design. Anyone interested in an introduction to the foundational principles of web usability will likely find this an accessible and worthwhile read.
37 reviews
April 18, 2016
I'm sure this was a great book when it was written, and there are still several nuggets of wisdom that a UI person can get out of it. However, it's difficult to wade through of all of the dated material to get to them.

I honestly can't recommend this book at this time. Web technologies advance at such a rapid rate, and there are so many other books out there, that I just think it's in the reader's best interest to focus on something more current.
Profile Image for David.
24 reviews1 follower
February 8, 2009
Great book, lots of good lessons on designing usable web interfaces, but the author's emphasis on spartan design seems a bit dated given the pervasive availability of broadband connections. The 1 second rule seems a good one, but I think that the kb limit for any one page could be revised upward.

17 reviews3 followers
March 21, 2011
Usability gnome Nielsen is best known for this work. It's still taken a decade for the basic insights he had to be effected in web projects. For example only in very recent times has content been considered alongside and as part of design, instead of being decoupled at every opportunity. Still relevant and worthy.
25 reviews
August 6, 2011
This was the textbook for a web design course I took back in 2001. The analysis of websites for good and bad, was very helpful in developing a critical eye for my own designs. I agree with other reviewers that it is now dated, however I still browse it now and then, for a historical perspective on web design.
Profile Image for Sandro.
49 reviews
February 5, 2013
Good book, but if you've read some other material about general usability this book isn't going to tell you much more.

The most important thing to retrieve from this book is that you should always aim to a simple and efficient interface, reducing the clutter and stuff that may overload the short-memory of the web user.
Profile Image for waits4thebus.
251 reviews
March 12, 2015
I read it back in 1999 and it was a great way to see the perspective of the user when designing websites. Things have changed so much, and even though some of the ideas in here endured, this book is really like reading something from the past, to help remind you of how far things have come. It will still sit on my shelf and remind me to focus on usability in all design.
Profile Image for Cody.
13 reviews
June 27, 2016
I believe this book is now too outdated. Web trends and standards have moved far beyond what is discussed in this book. If anything, this book functions more as a web design history lesson. I would recommend Don't Make Me Think (Revisited) by Steve Krug if you're learning about web usability and design.
Profile Image for jonathan berger.
63 reviews9 followers
September 2, 2008
I've been hearing about this "game-changing" book for years, and finally picked it up on a bargain rack. Its hard to judge its impact in the late 1990s, but it doesn't hold up well, and Nielsen's tone is pretty irritating.
Profile Image for Maria.
422 reviews25 followers
October 9, 2008
quizás porque ya está un poco desfasado me ha aburrido bastante, vamos que lo he leído en diagonal y, en algunas ocasiones, me ha parecido una perogrullada (o es que sé mas de usabilidad de lo que pensaba...)
Profile Image for Sallie.
62 reviews
June 4, 2009
Wonderful! I love that recommendations are so thoroughly research-based ... not just what "looks" good but what is effective. Reminds you what is really important -- the user! While this has been around for awhile, I still see a lot of user-unfriendly sites out there.
Profile Image for Garrett.
326 reviews5 followers
August 23, 2011
I read this meany years ago. But it was very handy as a reference for when I was writing my Master's Thesis.

I especially appreciated the pictures of sites and how Jakob broke them down into parts for discussion.
Profile Image for Jordan.
64 reviews
August 2, 2012
Usability is a separate animal from CRO and Neilsen has had this game on lock way before it was ubiquitous and popular. The book is old and less relevant and basic on page usability has become much more common, but still a decent over view of the big ideas behind it.
Profile Image for Luis Abarca.
13 reviews1 follower
September 3, 2012
Uno de los libros que debes leer si estas en el negocio de los sitios Web, algunas cosas se alejan de la realidad, aunque siempre es bueno conocer primero las reglas para saber cuando se pueden romper.
Profile Image for ferrigno.
538 reviews83 followers
October 4, 2012
Apparentemente è un manuale molto tecnico, in realtà i principi dell'usabilità di Nielsen si possono applicare a molti campi e costituiscono quasi un'Estetica pragmatica e attuale.
Un po' ripetitivo e maledettamente costoso.
Profile Image for Luis Abarca.
13 reviews1 follower
March 18, 2013
Uno de los libros que debes leer si estas en el negocio de los sitios Web, algunas cosas se alejan de la realidad, aunque siempre es bueno conocer primero las reglas para saber cuando se pueden romper.
Profile Image for Alexander Panfilenok.
10 reviews1 follower
January 12, 2014
This book was actual 15 years ago. It is still actual for you if you have no idea about how all this things work. The most valuable content for me was the set of the website screenshoots from the past =) All other things are pretty banal.
Profile Image for John Wargo.
119 reviews
January 16, 2016
Read this thinking it would help me with my current project, but it's way too dated to be useful. Would be interesting to see this updated, especially for mobile, but I found that I already knew most of the stuff in here.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 39 reviews

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