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brian jaramillo's picture
Joined: 3 Nov 2001 - 11:00am

Hmmm. Reading the Jakob Nielsen interview at

Have been learning Flash over the last couple months and we are using it for our site.

Would like to be judicious with motion, but at the same time, want our site to be fun, not boring. We’re not selling embalming fluid. We’re not actuaries.

Can anybody justify Nielsen’s take, or debunk it? Do design/font sites get special exemption from the Nielsen Rules?

Here are some links, including Porky’s take.


Richard Wikstrom's picture
Joined: 8 Mar 2002 - 2:35am

It’s interesting that when Nielsen talks about web usability he doesn’t think about me.

If I view his very own site, the text is next to unreadable because of the completely liquid layout. I don’t like to read lines which contain over 200 characters.

Besides that, the yellow colour on his page makes me nauscious. Usability doesn’t have to equal ugliness.

He’s right on the other hand when he says that 99% (or whatever it is) of flash pages don’t really need flash.

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
David Earls's picture
Joined: 11 Apr 2002 - 11:00am

Jack Schofield from The Guardian newspaper here in the UK spouted this regarding Mr Nielsen last year…,4273,4211693,00.html

The Guardian were also decent enough to publish my rebuttal too, bless them, though I got a bit of a slating from the public the following week :) Fancy suggesting that there might be an optimum number of words per line — I should be killed slowly…,4273,4215812,00.html

Joe Pemberton's picture
Joined: 8 Apr 2002 - 3:36pm

That book is 2 years old. Ancient in Web time
(the industry has learned a lot since then). In
fact, my clients never quote Nielsen
anymore… thankfully.

In the end, you’ve gotta decide who your user
is and what will work best for them. (For most
of Typophile, we’ve gone with the belief that
Flash is the best way to deliver content that is
typographically true to the design. We also
know that most of our users have the plugin

You asked about Flash… A paste from
Nielsen’s says it better than I could:

>The version of Flash introduced in 2002
>(Flash MX) has solved many of the technical
>usability problems in previous versions of
>Flash. Among other things, Flash MX
>supports accessibility and the “Back” button
>in the browser. A very important usability
>improvement is that Flash now ships with a
>standard set of interaction controls: finally,
>no more random scroll bars made up at the
>whim of a Flash designer.}

(As an aside: Interesting how Nielsen’s
changed his tune now that Macromedia is his
client… read the piece for yourself. In the end,
anything that helps this dogmatist think more
about context is a good thing.)

(The lesson: Bash a company publicly long
enough and they’ll hire you as an expert?)

Joe Pemberton's picture
Joined: 8 Apr 2002 - 3:36pm