The Practice of Simplicity
“one of the most influentual books on the subject”
Jacob Nielsen is considered as the Guru of web usability. I have read this book some time ago. The book came out in 1999 and is now five years old. This does nothing on the content of the book as most of it is still valid. For example use of available pixels (screen real estate), html semantics instead of coding for layout and page response times.
When I now look at the screenshots in the book, you see they are a bit dated. There are only designs of the second generation in the book, with table based layouts. This could use some refreshing.
Nielsen is not know for his design skills as everyone will know who had a look on his useit site. There were a few tries to get him a better looking — and still usable — site. First there was the useit redesign contest of last year. Unfortunately there hasn’t anything really interesting come out of this challenge. A few weeks ago there was another excelent redesign by the Design Fab Five. We know that Mr Nielsen codes his site by hand as he says:
“I am not a visual designer, so my graphics would look crummy anyway. Since this website is created by myself (and not by a multidisciplinary team as I always recommend for large sites) I didn’t want to spend money to hire an artist.”
But I like the look and feel of the fab5, see the alert box redesign. I’m sure it will make the content better for consumption and thats also a usability factor!
Conclusion: This is probably one of the most influentual books on the subject and a must read for every web designer.