This years mistakes?
Jacob Nielsen is still on the warpath, preaching the gospel, professing our doom or whatever he might call it. But to be fair the old soothsayer does know what he’s on about. If you’re a flash die hard take note, most of these also apply to Flash. This years favourite mistakes are on show for us to scoff at. Link via Oskar van Rijswijk.
I would like to note my personal opinion for some of the points on this list in regard to weblogs.
- Unclear Statement of Purpose Eh, most weblogs (except this one) do seem to have a short statement letting users know that the site is a weblog made by so and so. They do not let the user really know what else to expect. But being a weblog we have certain assumptions of what we could find. If you have more to offer the user let them know.
- New URLs for Archived Content I’m not sure if this is really an issue. Most blogs use permalinks to solve this problem and most bloggers are aware how to use these permalinks. For users it’s not such an issue because they know that content on the first blog page in never permanent. Well I hope they do…
- Undated Content This is something that I find very irritating. Weblogs by their nature don’t tend to suffer from this outrageous sin as other sites / portals do. I’m quite amazed that some news sites don’t date their entries. Shame on them!
- Small Thumbnail Images of Big, Detailed Photos This is true for many websites but as far as I can see it doesn’t seem to bother weblogs as much. But if you’re unsure take a look at a good example taken from SimpleBits. On reason for this might be the fact that weblogs only publish content sequentially. There is no other content fighting for attention, each posted article will get their turn. Take Jeremy Hedley’s weblog for instance. He posts many (beautiful) images and these are large enough to be posted as is, even though he offers an enlargement for our enjoyment. Photoblogs like Apparently nothing also seem to have a handle on it because the blogging engines seem deal with this issue by default. Although I would need to take a closer look at more photoblogs too form a more confident opinion.
- Overly detailed ALT Text Well I don’t really see the alt text when viewing a page so I can’t tell if blogs botch this one up. But Ian Hixie does seem to a few thoughts on how to use it. But many seem to place a discription or the filename. Both I don’t find very helpful however if anybody has an opinion on the matter please let me know.
- No “What-If” Support What if!? What if you just piss off Nielsen! This is a weblog dummy! But to be fair many could offer more. You could offer a user more than one way of contacting the blogger, via a form or a ‘mailto:’ link. Multiple ways of surfing through the archives etc. etc.
- Long Lists that Can’t Be Winnowed by Attributes I my view this isn’t really an issue for weblogs. Many do have unwieldy sidebars but do offer breaking the blog down into categories for example.
- Products Sorted Only by Brand Don’t think this apllies to weblogs, if it does I wonder if the site in question can be called a weblog.
- Overly Restrictive Form Entry Now be honest. How many forms do you see on a weblog?
- Pages That Link to Themselves Yep, this happens a lot in weblogs. Many sites / weblogs keep their navigation link for that active page alive and thus link to itself. Also the sidebars often contain links to recent entries, these are also often on the same page. Honestly I personally, as a user, don’t see this as problem. But testing has shown this to be a problem for users in general. So maybe sidebar-links should note something like “Also on this page:”. Just a thought.