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-   -   "Usability" (http://www.velocityreviews.com/forums/t156453-usability.html)

Andrew Cameron 01-01-2004 07:40 PM

"Usability"
 
I've written some sites in my time. I've written good sites, and I've
written very very bad sites. I have never, in the 8 years I'd had HTML as a
hobby, written a site as unreadable and badly-designed as "usability guru"
Jakob Nielsen's useit.com.

He makes some very good points in his articles, and they make a good read,
but I have seriously resorted to copying and pasting the text into Notepad
to prevent my eyes from bleeding. His site may indeed be one of the most
Lynx-friendly on the web, or very good with speech browsers, but it is the
most ugly, too. A big problem is his 100% width... oh, look, TABLE which
means that we get line lengths of a tiresome nature. This table "layout"
also brings us the navbar, which doesn't let us really navigate anywhere.

No page has the same links as another page - this makes the site confusing.
As I mentioned above, he uses tables for layout, which is less than
semantic. Another case of "do as I say...", I guess.

--
Andrew Cameron
"Got my hand on my heart, I know no better location..."



Edward Alfert 01-01-2004 07:47 PM

Re: "Usability"
 
<snip>
> A big problem is his 100%
> width... oh, look, TABLE which means that we get line lengths of a
> tiresome nature.

<snip>

Good point,.. and my site also resizes to 100% no matter the width of the
browser.

Is there a way to set a maximum width without setting a minimum?

For example. I would like to be able to design my site so that it is not
wider than 800 but not force it to be 800. That way visitors with browsers
set to 600 width or other width (because they have not set the window to
full screen, or they are using webtv or some other browser with smaller
viewable area) do not have to scroll horizontally.

Is there such a possibility with HTML/CSS?

--
Edward Alfert - http://www.rootmode.com/
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kayodeok 01-01-2004 07:49 PM

Re: "Usability"
 
"Andrew Cameron" <invalid@x01.co.uk> wrote in
news:bt1svn$2fs34$1@ID-90381.news.uni-berlin.de:

> I've written some sites in my time. I've written good sites,
> and I've written very very bad sites. I have never, in the 8
> years I'd had HTML as a hobby, written a site as unreadable and
> badly-designed as "usability guru" Jakob Nielsen's useit.com.


There was a contest to redesign Jakob's site; it was
called reuseit.

Hopefully Jakob will be redesigning his site soon...

Here's the URL for the contest:
http://www.builtforthefuture.com/reuseit/

And here's the list of the first ten winners:

http://www.mikepick.com/neilsen/
http://www.enginegraphics.net/portfolio/reuseit/
http://www.reh3.com/test/reUse/
http://www.vizi.nl/reuseit/
http://www.projetsurbain.com/projets/reuseit/iconic/
http://www.builtforthefuture.com/reu...minimal_jakob/
http://www.didenhover.org/design/useit/
http://www.juleepearson.com/reuseit/
http://www.technetworks.co.uk/useitnice/index.html
http://www.ogston.com/reuseit/useitcleaned.html

My Favorite is Minimal Jakob:
http://www.builtforthefuture.com/reu...minimal_jakob/

--
Kayode Okeyode
http://www.kayodeok.co.uk/weblog/
http://www.kayodeok.btinternet.co.uk.../webdesign.htm

Andrew Cameron 01-01-2004 08:03 PM

Re: "Usability"
 
kayodeok wrote:
> "Andrew Cameron" <invalid@x01.co.uk> wrote in
> news:bt1svn$2fs34$1@ID-90381.news.uni-berlin.de:
>
>> I've written some sites in my time. I've written good sites,
>> and I've written very very bad sites. I have never, in the 8
>> years I'd had HTML as a hobby, written a site as unreadable and
>> badly-designed as "usability guru" Jakob Nielsen's useit.com.

>
> There was a contest to redesign Jakob's site; it was
> called reuseit.
>
> Hopefully Jakob will be redesigning his site soon...


Hopefully...

> Here's the URL for the contest:
> http://www.builtforthefuture.com/reuseit/


Thanks for the link - most interesting.

> My Favorite is Minimal Jakob:
>

http://www.builtforthefuture.com/reu...minimal_jakob/

Argh! He's always there! He's watching me read his site! Scary stuff.

--
Andrew Cameron
"Got my hand on my heart, I know no better location..."



David Dorward 01-01-2004 08:14 PM

Re: "Usability"
 
Edward Alfert wrote:

> Is there a way to set a maximum width without setting a minimum?


The CSS max-width property

> For example. I would like to be able to design my site so that it is not
> wider than 800 but not force it to be 800.


800 what? Pixels? That's not a very good choice of unit. Try something
relating to the font size, such as em - that way users get sensible line
lengths whatever size font they like to use.

--
David Dorward <http://dorward.me.uk/>

Steve Pugh 01-01-2004 08:20 PM

Re: "Usability"
 
"Andrew Cameron" <invalid@x01.co.uk> wrote:

>I've written some sites in my time. I've written good sites, and I've
>written very very bad sites. I have never, in the 8 years I'd had HTML as a
>hobby, written a site as unreadable and badly-designed as "usability guru"
>Jakob Nielsen's useit.com.


I agree that it's a very plain site and it makes some design errors,
but the problems you highlight below are not amongst them.

It's also seems to me that his web site is rather low on Nielsen's
list of priorities at the moment. Reading his column over the past few
years has seen fewer and fewer interesting articles and more plugs for
reports to be purchased.
The design and coding of the site haven't changed in a long time,
which is both good and bad for various reasons. Indeed people have
even been inspired to redesign the bloomin' thing for him:
http://www.builtforthefuture.com/reuseit/

>He makes some very good points in his articles, and they make a good read,
>but I have seriously resorted to copying and pasting the text into Notepad
>to prevent my eyes from bleeding.
>A big problem is his 100% width... oh, look, TABLE which


Um, no. Apart from the home page, the table only contains the navbar
across the top. The content of the page is not contained inside a
table at all.

>means that we get line lengths of a tiresome nature.


That's your fault not his.

If you have your browser window set to a certain size then you should
expect sites to fill that width.

I find it very hard to believe that cutting and pasting text into
Notepad is a better option than resizing your browser window, or if
you like having whitespace down the side of every page for some
reason, using a user stylesheet to restrict the width of the content.

In a decent browser (sorry not IE) a user stylesheet with rules such
as
body>p {max-width: 40em;}
will constrain the width of this and many other single column,
no-frills, sites without interfering in the display of more 'designed'
sites. (Add body>h1, body>ul, etc. to suit).

>No page has the same links as another page - this makes the site confusing.


I don't find that at all. Every page except the home has a breadcrumb
trail at the top left (starting with a link back to the home page) and
a link to the search page at the top right. Links relevant to the page
contents go in the content or at the foot of the page. What else would
you add?

What I do feel is confusing is the way that many links lead off to the
Nielsen Norman Group web site with no warning. Because of the close
relationship between the content of the two sites it can seem that
there is just a single site with inconsistent styling.

>As I mentioned above, he uses tables for layout, which is less than
>semantic. Another case of "do as I say...", I guess.


Semantics and usability may sometimes walk hand in hand but they are
not the same thing. Nielsen is a usability expert and will advocate
the use of whatever tools makes a site the most usable, that may or
may not be the same as using tools which give correct semantics.

Steve

--
"My theories appal you, my heresies outrage you,
I never answer letters and you don't like my tie." - The Doctor

Steve Pugh <steve@pugh.net> <http://steve.pugh.net/>

Steve Pugh 01-01-2004 08:25 PM

Re: "Usability"
 
Edward Alfert <ealfert@rootmode.com> wrote:

>Is there a way to set a maximum width without setting a minimum?
>
>For example. I would like to be able to design my site so that it is not
>wider than 800 but not force it to be 800. That way visitors with browsers
>set to 600 width or other width (because they have not set the window to
>full screen, or they are using webtv or some other browser with smaller
>viewable area) do not have to scroll horizontally.
>
>Is there such a possibility with HTML/CSS?


There's the max-width property in CSS, but IE doesn't support it.

Steve

--
"My theories appal you, my heresies outrage you,
I never answer letters and you don't like my tie." - The Doctor

Steve Pugh <steve@pugh.net> <http://steve.pugh.net/>

Steve Pugh 01-01-2004 08:31 PM

Re: "Usability"
 
kayodeok <news4kayode@btopenworld.com> wrote:

>There was a contest to redesign Jakob's site; it was
>called reuseit.
>
>My Favorite is Minimal Jakob:
>http://www.builtforthefuture.com/reu...minimal_jakob/


Ooo, broken. The author assumes that everyone has their browser
background colour set to white.

Also runs foul of the IE bug with em-sized text. (Change the text size
to Largest and stand back...)

Nothing that couldn't be fixed in five minutes, but slightly the
judges giving it 5 out of 5 for accessibility and cross browser
compataibility indicates a certain lack of depth in the testing
process.

Steve

--
"My theories appal you, my heresies outrage you,
I never answer letters and you don't like my tie." - The Doctor

Steve Pugh <steve@pugh.net> <http://steve.pugh.net/>

Edward Alfert 01-01-2004 08:33 PM

Re: "Usability"
 
<snip>
>> Is there a way to set a maximum width without setting a minimum?

>
> The CSS max-width property


Thanks. I'm on my way to research that property. It is easier to find out
how to do something when you know what that something is called. Thanks.

I just visited www.w3c.org (http://www.w3.org/Style/CSS/)to do some re-
learning, and what do I notice? They do the same thing that the OP
mentions is way wrong. They also resize to full screen and create very
long lines for reading.

Additionally, following the link provided by another poster, the top 10
winners of reuseit all design for 100% of the screen width.
http://www.builtforthefuture.com/reu...ex.php#winners

Maybe it's the best compromise. Fill 100% of the screen but divide into
atleast 2 columns in order to break up line length. The problem is the
large difference in size between someone with a screen resolution of
640x480 and someone at 1600x1200. It is very hard to design something that
is 100% screen width and yet looks good at both ends of the spectrum.

>> For example. I would like to be able to design my site so that it is
>> not wider than 800 but not force it to be 800.

>
> 800 what? Pixels? That's not a very good choice of unit. Try something
> relating to the font size, such as em - that way users get sensible
> line lengths whatever size font they like to use.


My mind still works in relation to pixels.

What do you do when you not only have text but also graphics. You have to
think in terms of pixels so that the images fit. For example: you have a
header with a background image and you want the image to fill the entire
width of your content.

I can see if you only have small images scattered throughout the page.
Then you would't have a problem designing around word line lengths since
you do not have to worry about image widths.

--
Edward Alfert - http://www.rootmode.com/
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Edward Alfert 01-01-2004 08:37 PM

Re: "Usability"
 
<snip>
> There's the max-width property in CSS, but IE doesn't support it.


great! the solution is not supported by the vast majority of visitors.

--
Edward Alfert - http://www.rootmode.com/
Coupon Code (Recurring $5/month Discount): newsgroup
Multiple Domain Hosting * Reseller Hosting
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