Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Should You Copy a Famous Site's Design?

I must think of another opening sentence than “I always think it is worth reading Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox.” The trouble is I can’t.

I like what he writes and how he writes. He gets the balance absolutely right between tempting the reader with acquiring more of his thoughts (via conferences and books) and giving away a lot of valuable insights.

I am sure that for many, what he says reads like common sense. For example: “Users prefer well-established designs that follow conventions and work as expected.”

Why then do so many designers spend their time and their client’s money doing exactly the opposite trying to be ‘innovative’ when bog standard – current Web design – works best.

Another example: “Web site visitors want to get things done. They don't want to read.” Obvious you would think? I would like a dollar for every conversation I have had with clients and friends as they agonise over their Web site copy – not for its ease of reading – but to ensure it captures exactly the essence of their company, brand, product etc. Web site visitors don’t give a damn they want to get/do something.

I guess as long as people ignore what Nielsen has to say it keeps the dollars rolling in. Dick Stroud

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