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Nielsen On Blog Design Mistakes  (View post)

blextar [PersonRank 1]

Monday, October 17, 2005
18 years ago

honestly, with all the due respect to mr. nielsen, point 8 is a bit flawed. In fact a blog might simply be some kind of online personal diary where one can write whatever he wants to. It's not a lack of usabilty writing about different stuff and actually i appreciate reading blogs with a mix of topics. Sometimes I find an entry interesting, sometimes not, but I like it that way.

aaron [PersonRank 0]

18 years ago #

When did Nielson become an expert on blogs? There are several points that I see that don't apply to every blog.

Spicoli [PersonRank 0]

18 years ago #

blextar said
"In fact a blog might simply be some kind of online personal diary"

If only he had made that point himself. Oh wait, he did:

"Some weblogs are really just private diaries intended only for a handful of family members and close friends. Usability guidelines generally don't apply to such sites, because the readers' prior knowledge and motivation are incomparably greater than those of third-party users. When you want to reach new readers who aren't your mother, however, usability becomes important."

Dimitar Vesselinov [PersonRank 4]

18 years ago #

How usable is Jakob Nielsen?

"Jakob Nielsen is still very popular outside the usability community. Amongst his colleagues however, his popularity has been eroding steadily. Why? There are a couple of reasons for this."

Shelly [PersonRank 0]

18 years ago #

I have problems with most of those things. Categories are nice, but if my blogging software/service doesn't provide it, I'm not adept enough to go find code for that and add it.

And my bio is on the skimpy side purposefully, which is why my real name doesn't appear either. And the only photos of me online are ones of me as a kid or with a camera in front of my face because I don't want that online, either.

No matter how much I like having readers, I'm maintaining a level of privacy online and I don't care how many blogging "rules" that breaks.

And I post what I feel like on my main blog. Links, personal entries, all sorts of things. People seem to like it, so I'm not gonna worry about that, either.

Want to know what mistakes people make that I don't like? Poor spelling and lack of punctuation. Poor grammar and use of internet shorthand. Bad color choices that make my eyes feel like they're bleeding.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

18 years ago #

Shelly, just fyi, I improved my "about" section and also added some kind of photo a while ago, not because I like to have photos circulating online – but because I noticed several times how much I'm looking for this on other blogs and immediately click on the "About" page, and how much a photo adds value (particularly, I noticed this on Steve Rubel's blog, which I've become a loyal reader ever since I stumbled upon it).

I think for most of Nielsen's rule, it's true that you can break one or two of them, but if you're trying to gain more popularity, it will help if you adjust your blog. Sure, you can become the next "general purpose" blogger trying to beat Boing Boing, Metafilter and Waxy, but maybe it's a lot of easier to find a niche – say, fun videos, cars, what-not – to get popular. Sure, you may not need an about page because you're already trusted, but for many new bloggers it is necessary to establish a level of trust first with their readers. (When I'm asked to link to a blog post, one of the first things I look at is if I can find a real name attached to the post.)

As for Nielsen's own usability, well, I think the line-length of his posts looks somewhat silly... :)

aaron wall [PersonRank 1]

18 years ago #

>Irregular publishing frequency

I think publishing when one has nothing to say is far worse than publishing infrequently.

>Forgetting that you write for your future boss (flames/ rants don’t look too good once your prospective employer googles you)

Being worried about what others will think down the road sorta misses the point of why blogs are great, IMHO.

Mark Draughn [PersonRank 5]

18 years ago #

I break about 8 of these. Sigh. I don't put up an author bio or photo because really, I don't think too many people care. My blogging credentials are my archives. If you like what I said, you'll probably like what I have to say.

I don't post as often as I should, so if I split all my topics into separate blogs, I'd post once a month in each. I like using silly titles on my posts, and I like to obscure the links sometimes to surprise people.

On the other hand, I should probably start using link titles and I should add a best-of section.

And if my future boss doesn't want to hire me because of something I wrote on Windypundit, I don't want to work for a jerk like that.

eas [PersonRank 1]

18 years ago #

My biggest beef with his advice is that he ignores RSS.

Instead of his #7 (Irregular Publishing Frequency), he'd have done better to encourage people to create easily discoverable RSS feeds. What could be better for regular readers than making it possible to discover new content on your site without expecting them to internalize your publishing schedule.

Of course, he doesn't seem to have RSS for alertbox, so I guess it's not a suprise he missed that one.

Mark Draughn [PersonRank 5]

18 years ago #

I see Philipp dinged me for a semi-bad word there. Perhaps I should clarify: I don't post stuff to my blog that is gratuitously offensive to potential employers. It's all either stuff I firmly believe or else just trivial stuff. A potential boss who is deeply offended at my core beliefs is not someone I want to work for. A potential boss who is deeply offended by trivial stuff is someone I want to work for even less.

There is nothing wrong with a totally inoffensive blog that won't hurt your future employment. But neither is there anything wrong with deciding that some potential employers aren't worth the trouble to try to keep.

To some small extent, therefore, my blog serves to ward off undesirable employment. Future bosses may look into my blog to judge me. But while they look into my blog, my blog looks into them.

Tony Ruscoe [PersonRank 10]

18 years ago #

As usual, Nielsen has some valid arguments and some ridiculous points. If "the Web is not high school" then how come Nielsen keeps going on giving me advise like one of my high school teachers? (Sometimes, even teachers can be wrong...)

> Having a weblog address ending in,, etc. will soon be the equivalent of having an email address or a Geocities website: the mark of a naïve beginner who shouldn't be taken too seriously.

Oops! There goes Google's credibility – or are they the exception because they own the domain? ;-)

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

18 years ago #

Mark, your word was automatically censored by my filter. I sent you an email with the details, we can see if my filter works right.

blextar [PersonRank 1]

18 years ago #

Spicoli said

   "If only he had made that point himself. Oh wait, he did:"

Yep you're, I've been reading the full article and noticed that. But I definitely agree with eas: RSS is a must. And the mighty Nielsen totally forgot about it. I mean, what is the first thing you look for when you like a blog? RSS!! And what does it happen if it has no RSS? You just close the page and sigh.
With all the due respect to Nielsen.. Err.. Whateva', I'm tired of super-ultra-marvellous gurus. Also Nielsen can be wrong.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

18 years ago #

Blextar, the importance of RSS or other blog-specific features I don't think was import to the article, as Nielsen was not talking about what a blog must have. Instead, he was talking about the top (most common) blog design mistakes. So if practically every blog has RSS*, that wouldn't make it a common design mistake. Not every blog on the other hand has an about section with a photo, so if you consider that to be a problem, then it would fit on the top list.

* Yes, I know sometimes a blog appears without RSS, usually something like fake/ mainstream news companies/ big company blogs. But it's a tiny percentage compared to those blogs who *do* have RSS (I'm including Atom here).

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