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Getting Caught With Your Web Site Usability Zipper Wide Open  

:: Wednesday, October 19, 2005 ::

I purposely don't read every Alertbox article shipped off to the Internet by Jakob Nielsen, because his commandments are not specifically business or requirements-based per project kind of advice.

My good friend and co-Administrator at Cre8asiteForums, Bill Slawski, illustrates how beautifully many of the most popular blogs do indeed break a rule or three, from the latest "Top 10 Mistakes" list produced for our reading arousal from Mr. Nielsen.

In Does your blog pass the Jakob Nielsen test?, jumping directly to Bill's scorecard post, Bill takes each of the 10 blogging design "mistakes" from the latest Alertbox list and does some checking around for validation of proof. Here is one of the examples:

Descriptive headlines are especially important for representing your weblog in search engines, newsfeeds (RSS), and other external environments. In those contexts, users often see only the headline and use it to determine whether to click into the full posting.

Bill's response:
I'd like to know What's in Rebecca's Pocket, but you sort of have to actually read the posts, because one of the web's finest bloggers doesn't use titles for her posts. And she hasn't used titles since 1999 on her blog. And people read those posts, even without the titles.

Even more to the point:

Bill writes, "There's this great quote at the top of Rebecca Blood's blog right now that reads like this:

Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity. General George S. Patton""

Of all the public complaints written about Jakob Nielsen, there is one thing we can't deny. For two days I've been plowing through my many usability-themed feeds. In fact, every other post or headline covered the Weblog Usability: The Top Ten Design Mistakes. That's links, traffic and fame out the gazoo for the man.


Because whenever he sends off a Don't Do This list, everyone looks to see if their zipper is down. He's figured out how to play the "I don't want to be caught with my pants down" card and tens of thousands of web site workers fall for it every time.

:: posted by Kim Krause Berg on 10/19/2005 12:16:00 PM

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