Learning about Using about Designing (about Using)

Continuing one of my better ideas, that of buying myself a decent design book once a month, I’ve just received a copy of Jakob Nielsen’s seminal book, Designing Web Usability, here lovingly dropped on the floor amidst the general crap of my bedroom. This book is now 10 years old and apparently still very relevant. It’s not so much about web design as about, well, web usability, ie. how people use websites and how to change the way you (being the designer) address their (the user’s) needs.

I’ve been meaning to get this hefty tome for a while, it was recommended to me by web design supremo Susie White, but I’ve heard both good and bad things about Nielsen. His personal website is pretty anti-style and composed of pretty much just plain text, with hardly any design elements at all. From what I’ve read so far (the first 15 pages) he’s a bit of a Van der Rohe for the web, meaning he’s all about function over form. I’m a big fan of the content leading the design, so I think there’s a load of top stuff for me to learn within.

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