A new face for mr. Nielsen

Well, sort of. This is our submission for the ReUseIt competition: a redesign of Jakob Nielsen’s homepage. Below we’ll briefly explain our thoughts and the choices we made in the redesign process. But first:

Thought #1: the brand Jakob Nielsen

Our first observation touches at the core of this competition: the content on the current Useit.com website may be convincing, but the design isn’t. The website of mr. Nielsen suffers from a strange paradox: the simple, almost amateurish design of especially the homepage has become the Nielsen brand, yet at the same time the simpleness of the design refrains designers from embracing usability; it creates the impression that usability and design do not mix.

From our point of view, the design of Useit.com should reflect the notion that content and presentation can go hand-in-hand and strengthen each other, as an antidote to the current widespread belief among designers that ‘usable’ equals ‘dull’.

A better visual presentation might just prove to strengthen Nielsen’s case. The basis of this better visual presentation is that Jakob Nielsen himself has become a brand. This is something that should be exploited rather than glossed over.

Thought #2: the headings

We were a bit puzzled by the choice of headings on the current site. The Alertbox resides under ‘permanent content’ but changes every week, while a huge list of interviews (some of which date way back) are classified as ‘news’.

In our redesign, we have tried to make a clear distinction between short-term announcements (‘what’s up?’) and the actual content parts (e.g. ‘about nielsen’, ‘alertbox’ or ‘in writing’).

Thought #3: useit.com vs. nngroup

The large number of links to the Nielsen Norman Group website caught our attention. Many of these links are not clearly labeled as ‘outbound’. We feel it is fair to the visitor to make this difference more obvious, especially under headings such as ‘reports’, where all links point to the NN/g website.

Choices

We also made some choices concerning the coding of the site:

Okay, that’s it for the why and how behind our entry. Please enjoy!

Branko Collin & Jeroen Visser