Sunday, July 09, 2006

Wise Words About Branding From The Usability Sage

An explanation of usability concepts in Nielsen's website design ...

"Jakob Nielsen knows A LOT about usability. He's perhaps the world's foremost expert on how people use Web sites. I finally had the chance to meet Jakob face to face last week (we've been trading e-mails for some time) in San Francisco at his Usability Week Summit. I was down there to sit in on his one-day session on eyetracking.

No Graphics for Nielsen

Jakob takes a pretty austere view of the user experience. One can tell this from his own website, Perhaps his most famous quote is "Flash: 99% bad." He takes a similarly dim view of animations and large graphics, which lead to "banner blindness," he says. In fact, other than the obligatory head and shoulder shot on his bio page and a small arrow glyph used to indicate hierarchy in his breadcrumb navigation bar, there are no graphics on He goes on at some length about this. Why no graphics? He's pretty adamant that they add nothing to the user experience. We're not in complete agreement about this, but I get his point.

Jakob's Nielsen Norman group has recently added eyetracking to its usability arsenal. If ever you're looking for justification for not using large graphics on a site, look (sorry, no pun intended) no further than eyetracking heatmaps. In session after session, users skirt around large graphic blocks, focusing their interaction on text and navigation. It can be a rude slap in the face for most graphic designers (there's a rather amusing anecdote about one such encounter that happened at the session, and an example of the phenomenon I'm talking about, on my blog)."   continued ...   (Via Search Insider)


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