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Usability Tips from the Guru Himself, Jakob Nielsen

by Jason Unger, Founder

It’s Friday, so let’s do a little link roundup.

Sometime around 2006, I discovered the work of Jakob Nielsen. He’s a usability guru, which basically means that if you listen to him and believe his research (which is pretty damn good), then you’ll design and develop incredibly usable websites and digital collateral.

I’ve worked with magazine journalists to help them understand his tips for writing for the web, and traditional print designers so they understand how to design for how people use the Internet. In every case, the final product has been much easier to use by novices and experts alike.

In 2008, I attended a session on ‘Writing for the Web’ during his Usability Week in New York and learned a ton.

There’s so much to learn, so I suggest you get his regular Alertbox emails and stay informed. Here’s a roundup of some of my favorite usability articles, and why they matter to you.

Top 10 Mistakes in Web Design
He does this every year, and the ridiculous thing is that most years, the list only slightly changes. Some of the mainstays: PDF Files for Online Reading, Non-Scannable Text and Opening New Browser Windows.

F-Shaped Pattern For Reading Web Content
When you’re doing a design layout – whether it’s for a website or an email – you always need to think about how people will actually read the content. There’s a magic “F” of how people read online; get your content in that shape.

Scrolling and Attention
This one seems like common sense, but it’s worth repeating: your most important content and/or user actions should be above the fold. People will scroll to see more, but the further down the page your desired action is, the less likely it will happen.

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About Jason Unger

Jason Unger is the Founder of Digital Ink. He built his first website on Geocities, and hasn't looked back since. Digital Ink tells stories for forward-thinking businesses, mission-driven organizations, and marketing and technology agencies in need of a creative and digital partner.

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