does jakob nielsen really want to make the web dull in the name of ‘usability’?

“Websites must tone down their individual appearance and distinct design in all ways:

– visual design
– terminology and labeling

– interaction design and workflow

– information architecture”

“Even as websites become more similar and appearance design becomes more simplified, there will be a large number of design decisions that still need to be made in order to optimize the usability of each individual site.

Most important, each Internet service needs to be based on a task analysis of its specific users and their needs. You can combine standardized user interface elements in many ways, and the better sites will support the way users want to approach the problems.”

a bit of feedback to this, um, controversial proposal can be found on the site [including a response to the ‘dull’ accusation]. stating the obvious also offers up a critique:

“This piece is the promised follow-up to Nielsen’s June 25th piece, which dissected Microsoft’s .NET announcement. In that piece, Nielsen argued that since the network is the new user experience, individual sites will no longer “supply a complete user experience, [instead] each site will supply a component of the overall user experience that is coordinated by the new nexus.”

To put it bluntly, Nielsen has it backwards.”

“Nielsen believes that this network-centric world will demand that all websites look and act alike, since we’ll be traversing amongst multiple sites even more frequently than we do today. This makes very little sense to me. If information can move freely, why should I have to jump from site to site to have an “overall user experience?” If all information is networked, why should I have to travel the web to find it? Why shouldn’t it come directly to me, in a user experience that’s uniquely tailored to my needs?”

“Standard methods of exchanging and delivering information will open up opportunities for Internet application developers to provide more distinct user experiences for more distinct target markets. If there’s a market for a particular type (or brand) of user experience, information standards will only help create that market, by helping users avoid information-based application lock-in (a la Microsoft Office), and forcing developers to cater to the user interface and functionality needs of their particular audience.

This is just the beginning of web design. Not the end.”

i think jakob is simply preparing for his new job as thug enforcer for the usability mafia.

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