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Jakob Nielsen well-known a a usability pundit, yet his site, is ugly, hard to use, difficult to read, and ugly. And did I mention? It’s ugly.

If you’ve been complaining that Nielsen’s site could use a redesign and any monkey could do better, it’s time to put your money where your mouth is. Bob Sawyer has launched a contest to redesign While the winning design won’t end up being used on the site, Nielsen has given his official blessing to the contest.

Judges include CSS Zen Garden’s Dave Shea, Drew McLellan from WaSP and Dreamweaver Fever, Dan Benjamin of Hivelogic, the author of Building Accessible Websites, Joe Clark, and others. Somehow, I ended up on the judging list as well.

So break out your design chops, read the rules, and submit your design.

Trackback from ampersand
August 16, 2003 2:41 AM


Excerpt: The webdev buzz is now about the redesign of usability guru Jakob Nielsen's most ugly website The downside (I think) is that Nielsen himself said that it is highly unlikely that I will use the results. While it will...

Josh Santangelo
August 16, 2003 4:03 AM

Why? Jakob will not use the design, and probably won't even link to it. It will gain little recognition for the designer who wins, and even less for those that don't win. What was the practical fallout of the W3C remix? Nothing but an exercise. The contest page doesn't say what the goal of the whole thing is, but if it's to promote semantic markup and good usability, wouldn't it be a lot more productive to just make real sites with semantic markup and good usability and hold them up as good examples? Is Jakob even relevant anymore, anyway? I stopped reading his stuff years ago.

Trackback from TangleBones
August 17, 2003 9:49 AM

Don't you pick on my Jakob

Excerpt: Bob Sawyer has started a contest to redesign Jakob Nielsen's web page. The contest now includes prizes, and is being judged by some serious web design luminaries. Which is all well and good. But so far the discussion is mostly...

Trackback from andlife's Plog
August 18, 2003 3:11 PM

ReUSEIT contest

Excerpt: ReUSEIT is a contest to redesign Jacob Nielson's Cool stuff, I may mess around with the site and enter if I accomplish something. (via Measure Twice)

Anthony Langford
August 18, 2003 4:47 PM

Not to be contrary, but I believe Nielson's views to still be very relevant. Alertbox covers many sides of usability for which the mainstream idols like Pilgram or Zeldman don't have the time or interest. As for "difficult to read": it seems unlikely you are speaking of the styling of the text, for the text is nicely sized and appropriately colored, however, I don't imagine a grown man such as yourself to have trouble grasping the concept of the words used, or even the reasonable points of his articles, so that leaves only blatant personal attack. Speaking of personal attacks: using skewed hexagons as part of a logo is soo high school web-design class, and the right-angle quote used as the submit button on your site search form poses quite a usability concern. As a final note: the competition seems only to be a way to poke fun, and therefore will not prove to be productive for those interested in a more usable web or those participating in the contest.

August 19, 2003 6:10 AM

"the competition seems only to be a way to poke fun" I don't think so. It's an attempt to *conform* to usablity standards, while at the same time, trying to impart some beauty into the page. I believe it's an attempt to move away from many of Neilsen's antiquated mantras (like no images) and to give the website something that it severely lacks: looks. [Portions of this comment were deleted by the editor.]

Adam Kalsey
August 19, 2003 8:41 AM

On my logo... There are six letters in my name, hence the six-sided shapes used. And groups of three tend to evoke a subconscious positive response in people. You are designing logos that actually mean something, aren't you? The point behind the competition is to show that usability doesn't mean ugly. That a site can be both highly usable and attractive. I don't want to point out too many specific problems with the site because I want the designers to decide what needs to be done. That's part of the contest. But I will say this, the site is difficult to read because of long line lengths for articles (averaging 26 words per line on my screen) and no attempt to adjust leading. Once the reader reaches the end of a line and looks to the next line, their eye has trouble tracking which line they are one. Long lines closely spaced makes things hard to read. And for anyone wondering, my usability testing has found that if you follow a single form field with anything that remotely looks like a button, people understand that they are expected to click that button after filling out the field. So using an arrow, angle quote, the word "go" or anything else that might represent a button tends to be quite usable. Accessible is another matter altogether, and I'll admit that my seach field doesn't provide very good accessibility. There are no labels anywhere in the form that suggest to a text browser that the form is a search box. As a final note, ad hominem attacks will typically be deleted from the comments. There's no need to insult someone else. If you can't get your point across without name-calling or profanity, then your position probably isn't very strong. I left Anthony's comments because he was charging that I was personally attacking Nielsen and I wanted to clarify that point. Nielsen knows that is ugly. He agrees. He plans on changing to reflect the same design as which sports a decent design.

August 19, 2003 10:29 AM

I was going to comment on Anthony's post re: the contest being a way to poke fun at Nielsen, but you beat me to the punch, Adam. Before I began any real planning on this contest, I contacted Dr. Nielsen and asked for his blessing, and assured him that this was NOT an attack, and was in no way meant to disparage him or his work. He KNOWS the site is unattractive. If he really cared, he would have taken the time (several hours tops?) to apply the NNG styling to USEIT. As a matter of fact, I am rejecting any entries that I feel in any way detract from Nielsen or his brand. One such entry came in yesterday, and I returned it. The entry rules clearly state that this is not a Nielsen slam-fest, and I intend to keep it on a higher level than that. Now, get in there and submit your designs! :-)

Anthony Langford
August 19, 2003 1:18 PM

Dear Adam: I ask that you please remove the comments made by Anonymous and yourself, per the fact that they each contain personal attacks on me. [Insults from anonymous commenter previously removed. As were sections of this comment that referenced them. - Adam] "You are designing logos that actually mean something, aren't you?" -- Adam Kalsey Also to note: I used no name-calling or profanity and by leading my comments with "speaking of personal attacks" and including "soo", I thought to have shown that I meant no ill will in comments made, just as Adam did with the first line of this post when humorously acting as if he had forgotten that he had mentioned the fact that is ugly.

Adam Kalsey
August 19, 2003 1:31 PM

Anthony, My comment was a rhetorical question. Logos should mean something, not just be a pretty picture with your name in it. People in general occaisionally need to be reminded of that. Since I have no idea if you are a designer (you aren't including a URL with your comments), this obviously isn't directed towards your design skills. Everyone, And that's the last word on this subject. Feel free to comment on the contest and it's goals, but if you want to participate in a flame war, do it somewhere else. Anything that even feels like a flame or isn't abou the contest will be deleted from this thread immediately.

Jemaleddin S. Cole
August 20, 2003 2:06 AM

By the way, appears to be an energy company. You meant (Feel free to make corrections and delete this paragraph as necessary.) I don't think that switching to the NNG look would be good enough. It's not as ugly, granted, but it still wouldn't be the exemplar of usability and accessibility that people (obviously) expect from folks like Jakob.

Jemaleddin S. Cole
August 20, 2003 2:07 AM

Also, it doesn't validate. =-(

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