“As the Web grows, websites continue to come up with ways to annoy users. Following are ten design mistakes that were particularly good at punishing users and costing site owners business in 2002.” Jakob Nielsen
Quibble: Stating that “websites continue to come up with ways to annoy users” is misleading, since none of the “mistakes” is really new. Still, I did particularly like Nielsen’s complaint about companies that place marketing propaganda in FAQ pages.
Discovering Jakob Nielsen’s venerable UseIT.com was a fantastic experience for me back in 1997… his articles supplied vocabulary and a methodology that helped me articulate plenty that I had intuited about hypertext and web design (such as why George Landow’s visionary Hypertext made sense in terms of elite literary scholarship but didn’t seem to apply to anything that I did on the World Wide Web). At any rate, Nielsen’s Top Ten Web Design Mistakes of 2002 compresses all the rhetoric/writing related issues into a singe mistake: “Blocks of Text”. (Okay, he also complains about fixed font sizes and horizontal scrolling, but those are hardly new issues.)
Maybe I’m just grumpy because professional websites seem to be better-written than they were before — either more people have learned what makes good online text, or the post-bust economy means that fewer companies are hiring inexperienced web writers to puff out their pages. For whatever reason, I find Nielsen’s columns to be less and and less useful. The comic-strip illustrations didn’t add much to my undestanding of the issue, though a few made me smile.