By Alan K'necht (3/20/01)

Jakob Nielsen spreads the gospel of effective user-interface design by constantly haranguing the masses through print and in person at conferences. As of the post date for this article, he has been evangelizing his ideas on the User Experience World Tour. Nielsen holds a Ph.D. and is a user advocate and principal of the Nielsen Norman Group, which he cofounded with Dr. Donald A. Norman (a former vice president of research at Apple Computer). Until 1998 he was a Sun Microsystems Distinguished Engineer. He is widely regarded as the world's leading expert on Web usability.

Nielsen has attained iconic status and is one of the most revered user-interface gurus lecturing today. Many designers throughout the world have placed him on one of the tallest pedestals around, while others stand armed with stones trying to knock him off.

He enlightens designers with three basic tenets: simplicity, less is more, and the idea of supporting users' tasks and getting out of their way.

Through these tenets Nielsen sets his audience on the road to better site design, which he believes, like the proverbial journey of a thousand miles, starts with one step. Nielsen asks that everyone leaving his addresses or workshops make one change to their site(s) that improves the user's experience. It is these small changes that have the biggest impact.

As proof that Nielsen has been effective in changing how we design sites, he points out that he no longer considers page-load speed to be the most critical item requiring fixing. Between increases in bandwidth and people making more efficient pages, Nielsen feels that he has already changed the world.

Jakob Nielsen's commandments
Thou shalt:

Thou shalt not: Click here for the full story