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Entries in the contest to redesign Jakob Nielsen’s web site

Entries in the contest to redesign Jakob Nielsen’s web site.

Reader comments

Steven GarrityNov 05, 2003 at 12:52PM

Ug lee.

CSS-based design is suffering from the same issues behind early (and still a lot of) Flash design: doing stuff because you can.

KJCNov 05, 2003 at 1:15PM

Agreed. No offense to anybody, but I think most of these are pretty lame. (Looks like the web design community blew its design karma on CSS Zen Garden and had nothing left for this...)

Brian HessNov 05, 2003 at 3:08PM

Perhaps the best solution would have just been to re-do Jakob's current site with CSS instead of tables; i.e., standards-compliant and usable.

I mean, the challenge was to "design a usable, intuitive layout and navigation, organize the content with usability in mind, and create a work of art which still reflects the importance and influence of Nielsen's work."

Art being subjective but usablity somewhat less so, is Nielsen's current site usable? Personally, I think so. So maybe the art is in making it standards compliant.

Heaven forbid it gets turned in to something like ALA 3.0.

Brian HessNov 05, 2003 at 3:09PM

Actually, that last bit about ALA 3.0 was just flame baiting.

Sorry, I couldn't resist. :-)

Bob K.Nov 05, 2003 at 5:54PM

[i]CSS-based design is suffering from the same issues behind early (and still a lot of) Flash design: doing stuff because you can.[/i]

DING! Give Steven the prize!

"Overlapping boxes! Lots of boxes with borders! Links that completely reverse out (including their backgrounds) on mouseovers! Yes, you too can design with CSS - learn how to make thousands just like a real professional web-designer with these few simple tricks!"

Two of the biggest issues I noticed:
1. 2 majorly overlooked design principles in these examples:

a) Weight - almost every example gives every item almost the exact same weight on the page. The "Interviews" laundry list section of links typically received the same weight as the three-link "About Jacob" section via the headers, typeface, type size, backgrounds, and borders. Your eye has no idea what to focus on, or what's more important on the page.

b) White space - yes, a page with centered content and a width of 600 pixels is nice, and a 70 pixel titlebar with a small logo in the upper right can feel airy, but that doesn't mean you've correctly applied the principle of white space.

2. This is more a problem with Nielson's page itself (in my own humble opinion, of course) - ever heard of "less is more"? It almost looks like he's still living with the "Edmund's" school of design by including everything within the site on the homepage. I know, I know... put the links where people see them.

Still, I'm probably the one remaining user who hates to scroll. Even with the wheel mouse.

ScrivsNov 06, 2003 at 12:11AM

I to must admit some great disappoint in what was entered. I was going to enter, but lacked some of the confidence associated with such a "public" contest. After seeing these sites I think I should have entered...I do have to give props to the people who took some time out of their lives to work on these things, but I mean come on. Simplicity does not have to equal boredom.

dowingbaNov 06, 2003 at 2:30AM

That one is the absolute I've ever seen.

HadleyNov 06, 2003 at 3:07AM

Yeah, it's not the prettiest, but at least it's a bit different from all the boxy designs. I quite like the way news and interviews peek out from behind the left-hand box.

CheshireNov 06, 2003 at 1:54PM

Given what kind of lengthy, complex thought has to go into effective, attractive web design, I think it's utterly ridiculous that this contest exists. If it has to exist, one of the prizes should be cash, and a lot of it.

Bob K.Nov 06, 2003 at 9:02PM

Another thought - why didn't people just submit photoshop comps? (Obviously, I didn't read the rules, so I don't know if a "working" html document was required).

SmackfuNov 07, 2003 at 12:57PM

That first one is creeeepy.

This thread is closed to new comments. Thanks to everyone who responded.