November 2, 2000 9:10 AM   Subscribe

Redesign! Think Jacob's site is a bit old school, fix it.
posted by Mick (20 comments total)
I notice a lot of aggression towards Jakob lately from the design community. I wonder if they're frightened of being edged out of a job by like-minded information architects and usability experts.
posted by waxpancake at 9:42 AM on November 2, 2000

Nah, I think it's because people are just tired of hearing about the never ending Content vs. Design arguments...
posted by riffola at 10:27 AM on November 2, 2000

Anyone here going to enter?
posted by Brilliantcrank at 10:30 AM on November 2, 2000

I wonder if they're frightened of being edged out of a job by like-minded information architects and usability experts.

No one in design has anything against IA folks and usability experts, it's just Jakob himself that irritates us. Mostly because he's an arrogant, self aggrandizing and close minded prick.
posted by aladfar at 10:50 AM on November 2, 2000

Boy, I just hate it when ya'll beat around the bush and don't just come right out and say what you mean...
posted by m.polo at 10:53 AM on November 2, 2000

I was thinking of it, Maybe a large Flash intro, with "high concept" navigation, where the links are invisible and you just click randomly on the screen in hopes of going somewhere.
posted by cburton at 10:54 AM on November 2, 2000

I'd enter, except I get this feeling that I'd come up with something that looks rather the same, except with more black and purple.

Yes, I'm one of those Flash-haters. I do have a broadband connection, but my computer isn't the latest and greatest and likes to crash a lot. (I do run the Flash 5 viewer, so I'm not that out of date...)
posted by Electric Elf at 11:07 AM on November 2, 2000

Although it's tempting to try submitting something like this, I think it'd be fun to give it a shot. I suppose the worst/best thing that could happen would be my design appearing on the "rejected designs" list!
posted by JAcrimonaut at 11:29 AM on November 2, 2000

Mystery meat! mystery meat!
posted by dhartung at 11:39 AM on November 2, 2000

what aladfar said.
posted by mimi at 11:46 AM on November 2, 2000

Unlike usability consultants such as, which posts concrete examples with actual user testing and results, it seems like Nielsen makes curt observations (like Flash: 99% bad) based on his opinions without actual facts to back them up. Therefore, his credibility is suspect, at least in my eyes.
posted by timothompson at 12:57 PM on November 2, 2000

what mimi said.
posted by leo at 1:18 PM on November 2, 2000

He is just a sad, lonely man. He needs hugs, lots of them.
posted by Jeremy at 1:43 PM on November 2, 2000

Hug him? Who'd want to hug him? I'd rather french kiss a middle-aged German Shepherd. I say we wring his neck then whoever has to, can hug him then.
posted by leo at 2:08 PM on November 2, 2000

Funny, I've always felt that there was a lot of aggression towards the design community from Jakob.
posted by harmful at 2:18 PM on November 2, 2000

I'm gonna get it for this but...

as a designer and user of websites, I agree with 99% of Jacob Nielson's observations. I also think websites have improved a lot because of the criticism.

A lot of designers are clueless fascists. Their sites suck.
The best designers already know this stuff instinctively.


* Use hyperlinks instead of Javascript
* Allow bookmarking
* Don't disable the back button
* Don't disable "Open Link in New Window"
* Don't break links to old stuff
* Keep navigation simple
* Let the user know where they are
* Don't use a plug-in if you can use html
* Stop treating users like morons
* Don't expect users to read everything on the page
* Don't try to force users to do anything - especially some lame intro animation

If you want to see a good example of a website, take a look at MetaFilter. It's really cool.

posted by lagado at 2:25 PM on November 2, 2000

Hey, I've done a bit of design work myself, and while I think Jakob is a little full of himself sometimes, I do appreciate the things that he has to say. Why? Because sometimes you don't realize these things until someone says it out loud.

And I think I'm a better designer for it.

The people who don't care to listen to what he has to say are the ones who are truly closed-minded. He's right about a lot of very fundamental things. But at the same time, I think a lot of people misinterpret him, or just don't want to hear what he's saying. "Flash is 99% bad".. a lot of people don't want to hear that. Frankly, he's right. 99% of the stuff created in Flash was completely unnecessary.

Anyways, I'm tired. I wish I could write a better argument... Maybe I'll try again tomorrow morning.
posted by PWA_BadBoy at 10:13 PM on November 2, 2000

I recently read Nielsen's book "Designing Web Usability" and found it helpful, even though I've been desiging sites for several years. As with any book, you read it primarily to see how your own ideas stand up to challenge by someone who has thought long and hard about the issues involved, rather than to simply adopt someone else's philosophy wholesale. You read it to provoke your own thought processes.

One of his guidelines, for instance, is to not override the user's preferred link colors. He's probably right that users recognize the default colors more quickly. However, you must weigh fact that against your own sensibilities. Do you make your site a tiny fraction of a percentage more difficult to navigate in exchange for a more visually interesting and satisfying experience? Most of the time, for me, the answer is "yes," but now it is an informed answer, a conscious decision I make in my designs. Thinking hard about dozens of issues like that, some of which I had never even thought of as issues, has in fact improved my designs.

I have at least now taken to providing different colors for visited links, which I used to be violently opposed to because it "spoiled" the "purity" of the design. Nielsen did manage to convince me that this was valuable information that I should not hide from users. Usually what I do now is to make the visited links darker, assuming the text color is black. It's still obviously a link and it's still the site's link color, but it's less prominent visually, which I think is a cue that users can pick up on fairly quickly. Using two entirely different but equally prominent colors (neither of which is the default link color) means both colors compete for the user's attention, which can be distracting and confusing, especially when you hit a page that has a pretty even mixture of both.

posted by kindall at 11:10 PM on November 2, 2000

Aw, you guys are just jealous because no one has yet made a mouse pad out of you....
posted by bilco at 11:13 PM on November 2, 2000

I was thinking about entering the contest, but when I tried to follow one of the links, it turned red, which I know means I have already visited it. So I gave up and bought Nielsen's book from amazon. That's what the web is really for, anyway, not venturing to say that improving on the already perfect is possible.
posted by kidsplateusa at 1:09 PM on November 3, 2000

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