Web usability by Jakob Nielsen

Web usability by Jakob Nielsen

I’ve just listened to an interview with Jakob Nielsen – the acknowledged web guru on web usability.  He takes an uncompromising view that business web sites are for your customers, not for you.

Some of Jakob Nielsen’s key issues with web site usability today are:

  • Customers want real facts and information they can read and understand at a glance
  • Vaporous messages and marketing fluff just won’t cut it. Keep your message clear and simple
  • You should include price information – even if it’s at a guideline level. How else can a potential customer evaluate the value you provide?
  • Jakob Nielsen has a pet hate of ‘splash pages’ – and so do we. A splash page is one of those irritating web pages that loads before a website’s home page. Nobody looks at them – they just waste time.
  • He also has a hate of superfluous graphics – often animated in some sort of naff way. They don’t add value – they irritate visitors – so why do them?
  • Don’t expect banner adverts on your web site to work. Visitors know they’re there and they know to avoid them. The pitfall is you make your key marketing message look like a banner – and therefore visitors avoid them.

Design is secondary to functionality. If you make your web site beautiful but the hard facts and information just aren’t there, your visitors will move on.

Jakob Nielsen suggests looking at Wikipedia and Amazon – both sites that are light on design but highly functional.

His summary?

If you don’t respect and serve your visitors in the way they want to be served, they will click away. A point of view we fervently agree with!


If you’re passionate about web usability (and we are!) you should read Jakob Neilsen’s book ‘Prioritizing Web Usability’.