Need someone to lead product or development at your software company? I lead product and engineering teams and I'm looking for my next opportunity. Check out my resume and get in touch.

ReUSEIT

Freshness Warning
This article is over 16 years old. It's possible that the information you read below isn't current.

Jakob Nielsen well-known a a usability pundit, yet his site, Useit.com 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 Useit.com. 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

reuseit

Excerpt: The webdev buzz is now about the redesign of usability guru Jakob Nielsen's most ugly website useit.com. 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 useit.com. 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.

Anonymous
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 useit.com is ugly. He agrees. He plans on changing useit.com to reflect the same design as http://nng.com/ which sports a decent design.

Bob
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 useit.com 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, nng.com appears to be an energy company. You meant nngroup.com. (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. =-(

Your comments:

Text only, no HTML. URLs will automatically be converted to links. Your email address is required, but it will not be displayed on the site.

Name:

Not your company or your SEO link. Comments without a real name will be deleted as spam.

Email: (not displayed)

If you don't feel comfortable giving me your real email address, don't expect me to feel comfortable publishing your comment.

Website (optional):

Recently Written

A framework for onboarding new employees (May 15)
There’s no single good way to onboard an employee that works for every role. Here's a framework for creating a process that you can adapt to each situation.
TV hosts as a guide for software managers (May 10)
Software managers can learn a lot from journalists or late night TV hosts and how they interview people.
The Improvement Flywheel (Apr 29)
An incredible flywheel for the improvement of a development team. Fix a few things, and everything starts getting better.
Managers and technical ability (Dec 26)
In technical fields, the closer you are to the actual work being done, the closer your skills need to resemble those of the people doing the work.
Dysfunctions of output-oriented software teams (Sep 17)
Whatever you call it, the symptom is that you're measuring your progress by how much you build and deliver instead of measuring success by the amount of customer value you create.
Evaluative and generative product development (Aug 30)
Customers never even talk to the companies that don't fit their needs at all. If the only product ideas you're considering are those that meet the needs of your current customers, then you're only going to find new customers that look exactly like your current customers.
Product Manager Career Ladder (Aug 19)
What are the steps along the product management career path?
Building the Customer-Informed Product (Aug 15)
Strong products aren't composed of a list of features dictated by customers. They are guided by strong visions, and the execution of that vision is the primary focus of product development.

Older...

What I'm Reading

Contact

Adam Kalsey

+1 916 600 2497

Resume

Public Key

© 1999-2020 Adam Kalsey.