" Usability seems a good enough quality to aim for in a site, vital even. No matter what your role may be -designer, programmer, marketer, content-provider, business developer- it's safe to say that you all want the site to be usable. So, these usability guys, those fellows who spend their days trying to figure out what makes a site easy to use, well, they're doing a good thing, aren't they? They're basically helping us out, right? So, why are they such a mean-spirited lot? "
" Well, I don't know about all that 'mean-spirited' stuff, but I would like to comment on their 'helping us out.'So far, usability has been a stifling influence on the web, breeding homegenous mediocrity through insistence on blue links and 'following standards,' a euphemism for copying what everyone else has already done. I think the focus of usability needs to shift from doing only what's been done to creating new and innovative (and usable) solutions. People look for innovation everywhere else, why shouldn't they on the web? This doesn't mean everything needs to be broad-band and flashy, it just means that usability can be creative. Plumb design's visual thesaurus (www.plumbdesign.com/thesaurus/) is a great example of an intelligent intuitive and usable tool that gives the user a much deeper feel for the word than just finding matching definitions in a search engine. If Jakob Nielson would open his mind to online experiences like this, he might get some creative designers to get into usability more whole-heartedly, which would certainly benefit the web... even beginners."
kristoff 's piece:
" I'm all for usability. Usability IS good. Jakob N however I consider to be an interim clown, at least most of the time. But this is the web -- so I don't mind. "
sentient 's piece:
" hhmmm !! usability is it, what makes anyone think that useability is the function of the internet, are those who use the internet stupid (jacob seems to think so) have the users of the net ever used a computer before, can they properly operate a mouse, do they recognise or use the generic navigation, or textual links (which i have renamed jacob links) links in the bog standard blue #ffffff what ever the hell it is, well jacob, we couldnt give a god damn $%@^@ about the useability tests and aplications of useability to the internet, im a designer not a pre packed pre programmed, same as the next joe, the human race has lost its individuality and needs to be guided through thevirtual space they call the internet, if they dont know how to use the site then maybe they shouldnt even be infront of a computer, they could hurt themselves, oh and by the way jacob ive read your book seen your site, and theres nothing much there that interests me at all, just a page full of text, zzzzzzzzzz, boring. Please jacob im a designer not an underliner of links using the homegenous blue colour so that users know this is a link......wait a minute, now im starting to do it. thank you for letting me say my piece "
cesar martin 's piece:
" plumbdesign sucks... come on... say something that is really usefull this 3d stuff is a bullshit... "
Rufus 's piece:
" Hey, I think you just said I look good but I am fucking useless... Sums me up! Oh, usability, yeah well my ten pence is this. Is all entertainment usable, interactive and functional? No, it is entertainment! I f you design a site to do some thing it should do it. If this means you need a plugin or serious bandwidth or pink and blue text on a yellow background so be it. I am sick of people trying to tell me that I should cater for every deaf, dumb and blind idiot who can type a URL. People like this are just worried that the web might get out of control and they may lose a) sales for their new book 'Web usablility test for dogs' b) their jobs. I my experience These people can not design or build anything but hugely ugly upside down 'L' web sites... Rant... Erm, thanks for the mention... Usability is for wooses... build sites that entertain you and you will probably build something good! "
britt 's piece:
" i find useit.com quite useless myself. the few bits of good info jakob has is shrouded by his mistaking blandness for usability. david carson once said something to the effect of not underestimating the intelligence of your readers (users). usability is as much about feeling as it is the transferring of an idea. the only feeling i get from sites that adhere to useit rules is one of boredom. how can i use something if i'm half asleep? "
Paul 's piece:
" Usability is very, very, very important. If you can't use the web...then what's the point of having it. But, Nielsen is a weenie because he has mistaken Boring for Easy to Use. If you're a good web-designer you can make interesting, fast and easy to use pages. Full stop. I hate you Jakob...you suck. "
grogg 's piece:
" This is in response to CESAR MARTIN. Yes, I agree, plumb design has forced a gimmicky 3-d interface onto every client in their path (look at poor Bacardi's site, for instance). But, I think that the original idea is a good one- innovative and usable- as a thesaurus. In all it's other incarnations it has sucked, but I still think the plumb design 3-d thesaurus is a great (and fun) way to search for the right word. "
Matt 's piece:
Matt 's piece:
" How d "
Matt 's piece:
" o you use this site? "
Matt 's piece:
" I don't think it's working "
chris 's piece:
" Matt, I was going to remove those blank and partial posts 'caus I thought they were a mistake, but I realise now you may be making a point with those posts, a comment on this site's (lack of) usability.If that is what you are doing, I must commend you on a nice subtle (and almost insidious) way of making that point. If it was just a mistake, let me know and I'll clean 'em out. "
dave 's piece:
" usability isn't just about onscreen widgets and their arrangement, it is as much, if not more, about imbuing data with meaning to provide usable information for human beings to digest, which is where so much falls over; plumb.com fails as I can't bookmark parts of the system, and it's difficult to navigate, as it imposes it's own, non-browser 'navigation space' onto the user. just to chip in with the plumb.com berating. :-) "
chris 's piece:
" Okay then, Designers, we've made the point that usability as it's currently defined is restrictive and boring. We can all create wildly creative sites for art's sake, but can anyone point out any creative sites that are usable? Plumb design's thesaurus has been shot down, anyone have any others?.. "
stefan 's piece:
" UsabilitySucks brings out the Jake in me. "
Niddhi Chadda 's piece:
" Hey, usability doesn't just mean underlining things in blue! A lot of it doesn't tread on Designer's visual territory at all, like naming and organisation. While I wouldn't advocate following all the "usability tenets" to the rule, being familiar with them can make one a much more mature and broad designer. "
Pat McCrae 's piece:
" Totally agree - bizarre thing when nurds start making profit out of resentment .... Nilsen is good - but dogmatic. He is consistent - but not creative. In a way, he is your typically engineering nerd proclaiming to be different. Only real difference: he makes a lot of money that way .... "
Don Norman 's piece:
" Alas, there is a problem. usability alone does not suffice; websites and products should also be fun, enjoyable. This means aesthetically pleasing and exciting, depending upon the image one wishes to convey.All these factors must be in balance. usability and functionality should not overwhelm the user, but then neither should beauty and cleverness in graphics destroy usability and functionality. Things must be in balance, and in today's world of limited bandwidth and slow responses times, functionality requires lean, simple sites. Our own corporate web site (www.nngroup.com) is an example. It is not well done (yet). It should convey some excitement, some sense of the enthusiasm that we share for our work. Usability is not enough: our products, services, and websites should be elegant, fun, pleasurable. Neither of us -- Jakob or I -- are good graphics designers. It shows. Our current website is functional but dull. Actually, it isn't even functional enough. "
mark bini 's piece:
" Don't know much about usability, Don't know much about the Latin I took, But this I know i-s true, Chris Robbins site is really cool! Na na na na na "
grogg 's piece:
" Look, usability is vital, but what I believe usability entails is COMMON SENSE, not applying some dogmatic set of standards to the entire web.So, you don't need some $5000 an hour guru to tell you underline links, you just need common sense. And if you don't have common sense, then you probably shouldn't be designing mass market e-consumption sites. This isn't to say people without common sense shouldn't be designing websites; on the contrary, if you lack common sense because you're lost in the ether-world of your own creativity, you should definitely be designing web sites, just not e-commerce ones. An analogy to illustrate my point: Surrealists paint some truly fantastic stuff, but I wouldn't want a Surrealist painting exit signs on a highway. So, lighten up, Jake, you don't have to re-create the entire web in your own image, you just have to remind some of us to practice common-sense. "
Lawrence 's piece:
" Says Jakob Nielson: "And that's what I view my mission as: not be satisfied with the current state of affairs, but rather, 'where do we go from here.'" (http://www.wired.com/news/business/0,1367,40155,00.html, via k10k.) If anyone else were saying this, or if I didn't feel I knew Jakob's intentions so well, this would be a great thing to hear. But when Jake says it, it sounds downright ominous. "
jeremy 's piece:
" Any time we rigidly adhere to one system, philosophy, dogma, etc., we go blind to innovation, creativity, and possibility. "Usability" is totally relative to the objective of the product (website) - if the point of the product is to entertain, then the only concern for usability is that the viewer be able to get to the entertainment. If the point of the product is to allow users to negotiate and manipulate massively complex data sets, then the scope of usability becomes completely different. The real trouble with this whole "new" economy is that we've let our tools fragment our perception of what we do: we look at "usability" as something that can somehow be separated out from everything else that goes into developing a digital product. The same goes for IA, the sadly mis-named "design" (a.k.a. look-n'-feel), development, and all the other action-item categories you can think of. We're in the product development business, and the real goal is to make whole products that Work. "Work" means alot more than just "be usable" - there's a whole pantheon of objectives that a newly developed product must meet in order to be successful. Look to the other design professions that have been around for the last 100 years or so, and to professional architecture services which have been around for centuries, if not millenia. All of these professionals have been balancing ergonomics, usability, functionality, aesthetics, rhetoric, form, manufacturing criteria, recycling issues, human factors, etc. etc. long before the e-jargon mongers came along to put the lid on independent thinking. Design is a fundamental human activity, practiced since the dawn of humankind the world over. Somewhere along the way, however, not very long ago, independent thinking got replaced with dogma. Too bad, because there's a lot of work that still needs to be done. "
drew 's piece:
" look, folks, it's very simple. usability simply means that people who look at your site are able to do what you want them to do, and are happy that they are able to do it. whether you want them to buy lots of useless junk, read your illiterate blog, or be pleasurably lost among your maze of twisty little links, all alike, usability is the process you use to achieve this goal. jakob nielsen writes rules that will allow anyone who adheres to them to make a site that most people can use to accomplish any of the more popular goals on the web (usually buying stuff or finding information). this does not mean that sites which break these rules WILL be unusable. as with any type of design, the key is to know the rules and what they're for, then strategically and intelligently break them when necessary to achieve your design goals. slamming nielsen is just stupid. he's just one usability professional offering guidelines, good ones at that, and it's up to you to be a smart designer and decide how and whether to apply those guidelines. the one rule you must remember, though, is that usability testing works. it's just common sense to watch people use your site and make sure they don't get confused unless you're certain you want them to. your users, not nielsen, will tell you when you've done your job correctly. "
ben 's piece:
" i like. "
Tommy 's piece:
" F O R M V E R S U S F U N C T I O N I S A N O L D D E B A T E C A N ' T W E A L L J U S T G E T A L O N G ? "
Tommy 's piece:
" P.S. - How do I get back to the home page from here? I can't tell. "
Tracy 's piece:
" Usability is a canard. The real issues are: 1) what is the purpose of your site? 2) Can people use your site as you intend with a minimum of frustration? Usability is not the purpose of a web site (as Jakob would like it to be) but rather a principle to be incorporated into the design. Design is an iterative process. Design-test-refine. Whether people can use your site as intended is just one thing to test for. If they can, then congratulations, you have a usable site. Now that didn't hurt so much, did it? "
hg 's piece:
" hghg "
Kenny 's piece:
" There's a time and a place..... Surely the fundamental questions are what's the site meant to achieve and who's going to be using it? Entertainment, business use, shopping, chilling, communicating etc.etc. all presuppose a different user mindset and hence expected experience. Useability has its place but doesn't have to be all-pervasive or prescriptive. "
" The Internet Time thing, "Were too busy!," is no longer a good excuse for ignorance and seat-of-the-pants design thinking, if ever it was. - BOB JACOBSON (http://www.alistapart.com/stories/experience/2.html) "
Anthony 's piece:
" Usability is a word that ignorant people use since they are too scared to be innovative designers or thinker. This means they do what everyone else is doing. "
tom 's piece:
" I agree with kenny not all sites should need to be usable but it's pretty fundamental for many web sites (if I'm looking up specific information or trying to buy something I want everything to be obvious and easy) "
Mark 's piece:
" Usability might rock, and it might suck - but at $5,000 an hour, I want to be doing it! http://www.nngroup.com/worldtour/event.html "
Christopher 's piece:
" Can anyone name one usable site that is usable in an innovative way? "