[thelist] Drop-down menu items

Eric Miller eric at OAKTREE.com
Tue Jan 9 16:41:26 CST 2001

hi y'all,
okay, with the aforementioned gauntlet thrown down, here's why I don't kneel
at the altar of Nielsen, and I question the wisdom of doing so for every

The Web is more than a reference tool.  It is a communication tool, like
radio, TV, magazines, posters, theater...and as such, a rigid methodology
such as Nielsen's isn't always appropriate for every site on the net.  

Doing an international corporate site with tons of information and a mandate
to be easy-to-use, ADA-compliant, and web-standards-compliant?  Then follow
a strict strategy for usability and accessibility, cut the gizmos, and focus
on structuring and presenting your content in the most effective way
possible.  Like Nielsen.

Building a site for a local performance art troupe?  Give them style.  Give
them motion.  Give them a site that reflects who they are and extends their
work onto the Web.  Use the tools available to you to create something that
becomes another piece of their work, and isn't cursed with the sexual
magnetism of a telephone directory.  

Nielsen has good sensible recommendations that should be followed more
often.  But it's sort of like the Old Testament of web design....there's a
bit of hysteria in there about the unknown, the unfamiliar, the unintuitive,
the challenging, and the creative.  Know your audience, know your purpose,
and use what you need to use to accomplish your goals.


got paragraphs of text on pages that have extra leading on the last
sentence?  add a <br /> tag.
simple and underused:  got align="whatever" page elements?  force a complete
break by using <br clear="all" />

-----Original Message-----
From: martin.p.burns at uk.pwcglobal.com

>but seriously now, folks...though Nielsen frequently has his self-righteous
>head up his posterior,

To be honest, the only arguments I've seen against him are:
   "He charges $n,000 a day and I'm such a weenie. I don't like him"
   "I'm a crack-addict and can't wean myself off the flashy stuff"
   "His site is, like, soooooooooooooooo ugly"
   "I'm too lazy to learn how to write HTML properly"

You can't fault the fact that he writes based on *research*, not opinion.

If you want to argue with Nielsen, then it's a put-up or shut-up: do your
own damn research to prove him wrong.

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