9 August 2007

Jakob Nielsen: the web design guru that web designers love to hate

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Jakob Nielsen
“Jakob Nielsen’s no-frills useability website attracts opprobrium as well as praise, but it stands out and is never ignored,” writes Jack Schofield in The Guardian.

“Google for Jakob Nielsen and you’ll often find him described as a “web design guru”. He’s also the man that some web designers love to hate. In particular, they love to heap abuse on his website – UseIt.com.

It’s a decade-old design and it wouldn’t take much effort to make it look nicer, would it? More importantly, surely he ought to be following all his own guidelines on usability.

Nielsen is not a graphic designer, and he reckons that smartening it up would put him in the middle range of site designs: “I’d be just one out of 10m. Redesigning it would take away the real value, which is that it stands out. But I’m probably the only one who could get away with it. I wouldn’t recommend it to somebody starting out now!”

Although Use It annoys the people who think web design is graphic design, Nielsen doesn’t mind. “There is something good about upsetting people, because it’s making an impact,” he says. But, he adds: “It’s not good if you only annoy people,” and you have to offer something of value.

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