Book Review: Prioritizing Web Usability

Neilsen delivers another brilliant book full of timely advice to help avoid common usability mistakes. A must read.

Jan 27, 2007

<span class="reviewer vcard" id="reviewer-vcard">

    <span class="fn">George Ornbo</span>

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<h3 class="fn">Prioritizing Web Usability</h3>

<p>Author: Jakob Nielsen &amp; Hoa Loranger</p>

<p>Published: 2nd May 2006</p>

<p>ISBN:0321350316</p>

<p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Prioritizing-Web-Usability-Jakob-Nielsen/dp/0321350316/ref=sr_1_1/026-0711400-0839662?ie=UTF8&amp;s=books&amp;qid=1190361529&amp;sr=1-1">Buy from Amazon</a></p>

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<span class="rating">5</span>

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<h3>Usability anyone?</h3>
<p>After publishing countless articles on Web Usability Jakob Neilsen is rightly seen as one of the pioneers of making the web more usable and useful to everyday life. He has conducted multiple studies into how people interact and use websites across the globe. Furthermore he has published a large amount of that information on his site <a href="http://www.useit.com/">useit.com</a>. Neilsen has already published several books including <a href="http://www.amazon.co.uk/Designing-Web-Usability-Practice-Simplicity/dp/156205810X"></a> and with his co-author Hoa Loranger this new book brings previous findings up to date as well as introducing new many new usability issues.</p>   

<h3>Usability as a philosophy</h3>
<p>This books is as much about embracing usability as a philosophy as it is about practical advice. Placing the user at the centre of design processes is probably the most imporatant piece of advice in the book. Neilsen and Loranger state that their advice is quite simple and straightforward. They also state that over and over again websites are making the same mistakes. The idea that a website is a task-driven space where users have a very short attention span is one that many designers still need to realise. This book shows that embracing this philosophy will stand websites in good stead.</p>

<h3>How the book works</h3>
<p>The book works by going through various usability studies that Neilsen and Loranger have completed. It applies the findings of those studies to screenshots of websites. It is really easy to see the faults that the websites have made and even better that the advice is on hand to rectify the usability faults. For the majority of the time the advice is just good common sense but even an experienced designer will probably learn something new from this book. </p>

<h3>Why this book is so good</h3>
<p>The book is brilliant as it backs up advice and assumptions with empirical data. The ideas are not ones that have come from Nielsen and Lorangers' heads. They are observations of real world users doing real world task on real websites. For this reason alone this book is a must read . This means the next time a client asks why it is bad to have a pop up windows everywhere you can point to a study that shows that users find it annoying. 
Absorbing the advice in this book will only help designers and those commissioning websites to produce websites that are more profitable and easier to use for everyone.  </p>
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