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Jakob Nielsen’s latest Alertbox is about weblog

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 17, 2005

Jakob Nielsen’s latest Alertbox is about weblog usability. I actually think most of these are pretty good, but as with all such guidelines, they are made to be broken.

Reader comments

Jake of 8bitjoystick.comOct 17, 2005 at 5:27PM

Jakob Nielson does not get the whole concept of “Fun”. I would be interesting to sit down and play Nintendo with him. He would gripe about how it would be more effecient if there was a short cut to instantly jump to the end and finish the game.

Jimmy SOct 17, 2005 at 5:32PM

Kind of funny that author photo is #2. I guess we don’t think of old JN as the most social kind of guy. There is the question of how they present themselves in photos (we all have experienced meeting somebody from online who looks nothing like the photo they use). And then judging people by their looks. (And in the case of Go Fug Yourself, judging the judges of people’s looks would be interesting).

Shaun AndrewsOct 17, 2005 at 5:35PM

I surprised me too that the first two points were related to the author. I also think his view on categories and tags is a little off.

Donnie JeterOct 17, 2005 at 5:39PM

Links Don’t Say Where they Go
In regards to blogs, I don’t think you are ever going to see fully descript definitions of each links. As he said, they’re a Web-native content genre: they rely on links, and short postings prevail - Links are posted quickly and often times there is no need to give a long drawn out title.

kathleenOct 17, 2005 at 6:14PM

Not having a domain name owned by a weblog service: excellent.

RichardOct 17, 2005 at 6:40PM

Donnie: he’s not asking for long drawn out titles. He’s asking for descriptive links. Doc Searls is not so much the worst offender (there are worse) as he is the most prominent one. It’s a mark of bad writing to those can’t think of one or two or three words other than “here” to describe the link. I’ve been guilty of using “here” before, but that was *years* ago, as I now make a point of giving the people I link to some search engine juice (either with the title element when using their name as link text or descriptive words) as well as my readers a little bit of context to the links. My rule of thumb: make it so readers can get as full a meaning from the text when/if the links are removed (e.g. when printed out) or never clicked.

MartiumOct 17, 2005 at 6:41PM


Coming soon?

AndreaOct 17, 2005 at 6:42PM

I’m with Jake on this one. Does Mr. Nielsen even get the concept of blogs (those that are not used as marketing tools, anyway)?

8. Mixing Topics … The only people who read everything are those with too much time on their hands (a low-value demographic).”

What the hell.

NataliOct 17, 2005 at 7:40PM

Wow, now there are rules and everything. I guess if I don’t want to be unpopular, I should make sure I shape up and follow each and every one of them.

(I actually agree with most of them, but the regimented soul-killing attitude of the list makes me wonder what part of the internet this guy comes from.)

easOct 17, 2005 at 9:17PM

As a Reader/User, I didn’t like #7 one bit. Why expect your regular readers to internalize your publishing schedule, no matter how regular, in the first place. RSS feeds can give your regular readers updates of new content without requiring them to do anything more than add the feed to their aggregator in the first place. Better to advocate for easily discoverable feeds and better autodiscovery by aggregators, I think. Especially these days when Google, MSN, & Yahoo all let their users add RSS to their custom page.

Granted, not every user is hip to RSS feeds yet, but that’s still no reason to ignore the issue. Then again, notice of Alertbox updates isn’t available via RSS, at least not as far as I could tell.

PiersOct 18, 2005 at 2:16AM

I don’t have a calendar for navigation, I don’t have a “best of” list, my archives are not easy to go through. I like my blogging to be ephemeral. I post about something, people read it while it’s relevant, there’s a brief commentary discussion, then once it’s run its course, it disappears. Not permanently, but just sort of fades away.

99% of my blogging is meant to be like that. An off-hand remark, a photo I like, the recount of an event. I don’t think content like that should be rigorously archived at all.

raulOct 18, 2005 at 2:22AM

1. who cares
2. who cares
3. everybody gets lazy
4. sometimes I like the mystery
5. probably a good idea
6. agreed
7. rss makes this obsolete
8. i like blogs that mix it up
9. bleah
10. yes, but not practical for many

GregOct 18, 2005 at 6:50AM

Jakob Nielson does not get the whole concept of “Fun”.

Are you kidding me? Look at those sideburns! That man is the King of Fun and the party follows wherever he roles.

Joe GrossbergOct 18, 2005 at 12:13PM

By my reckoning, Kottke breaks half the rules: 3, 4, 7, 8, 9.

This thread is closed to new comments. Thanks to everyone who responded.

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