Flutterby™! : Jakob Nielsen and Alan Cooper

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Jakob Nielsen and Alan Cooper

2000-03-12 19:33:25+00 by Dan Lyke 3 comments

I've been hoping to write an entire rant on web design and similar issues when I've finished Jakob Nielsen's Designing Web Usability[Wiki] and Alan Cooper's The Inmates are Running The Asylum[Wiki], but I'm not sure I'm gonna make it. Of the two so far Nielsen's is the better book, but it shows no particular insight beyond the ability to recognize bad websites, and with all the color plates dead-trees is a particularly expensive way to do this. I'm only in Chapter 4 of Alan Cooper's book, but so far it's coming across as just a tired rehash of the RISKS archives as interpreted by one with pointy hair. One gets the impression that if Cooper ever actually did any physical work he'd go after the hammer designers because they made a tool with which it was possible to hit one's thumb. And he makes many straight misstatements, I don't know which mail clients he's using when he complains that none of them thread, 'cause most of the ones I'm familiar with do. Obviously a Microsoft using luser.

In any case, if you've been looking at useability for any length of time, you can give both a miss. When the best we can do is rehash the old "software development is treated like jumping out of an airplane and sewing the parachute on the way down" you know that nobody but the scam artists writing the books is looking at the history and trying to figure out what we can do differently, they're just proposing the same things that have been failing for decades.

[ related topics: Web development Books User Interface ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:29:47+00 by: ziffle

Once there was a brilliant young programmer who felt the user interface was -- well -- irrelevent. He coined the term "user interface needs a little work". Wonder what happened to him <g> After all a secretary can type in hex code as well as anyone, no? <g>

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:29:47+00 by: ziffle

Once there was a brilliant young programmer who felt the user interface was -- well -- irrelevent. He coined the term "user interface needs a little work". Wonder what happened to him <g> After all a secretary can type in hex code as well as anyone, no? <g>

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:29:48+00 by: Dan Lyke

He now believes that user interfaces shouldn't exist, and means that in both ways, but he also believes that Cooper just rehashes arguments that others have made better.