Nielsen on Blog Usability


I had this tabbed yesterday but never got to read it, now i have, and it's certainly worth noting Jakob Nielsen's top 10 blog usability mistakes

My favorite ones are #3 and #10 - number three deals with a personal pet peeve of mine: "Nondescript Posting Titles" - I've ranted a little about this at least twice this year i think...

Sadly, even though weblogs are native to the Web, authors rarely follow the guidelines for writing for the Web in terms of making content scannable. This applies to a posting's body text, but it's even more important with headlines. Users must be able to grasp the gist of an article by reading its headline. Avoid cute or humorous headlines that make no sense out of context.

Your posting's title is microcontent and you should treat it as a writing project in its own right. On a value-per-word basis, headline writing is the most important writing you do.

Descriptive headlines are especially important for representing your weblog in search engines, newsfeeds (RSS), and other external environments. In those contexts, users often see only the headline and use it to determine whether to click into the full posting. Even if users see a short abstract along with the headline (as with most search engines), user testing shows that people often read only the headline. In fact, people often read only the first three or four words of a headline when scanning a list of possible places to go.

The bit i bolded is sooooo true! - particularly of RSS headlines where the author just can't seem to write a concise or descriptive title. (he says, breaking rule #4, which frankly i think in the context of blogs is total bollocks).

A lot of TW'ers will agree with #10 also as it deals with your url belonging to a hosted network.

Having a weblog address ending in,, etc. will soon be the equivalent of having an email address or a Geocities website: the mark of a naïve beginner who shouldn't be taken too seriously

In general it's spot on, but he misses a part of the puzzle: Some networks are communities in and of theirselves. I belong to the wordpress community, and im happy with it, very happy as a matter of fact, and thousands of livejournalers would also say similar im sure.

Good reading though....


Blog communities

It's possible to have the best of both worlds, any of these blog communities can (and probably do) offer personalised domains and email as a premium extra so you can have your own domain but still be part of the community. Easy done and a small way of extracting some more cash value out of the membership.


Well Nick, those of us who haven't met you patiently await your photo.

Here ya go :)

Here ya go :)

I disagree with #7

With feed readers, why would people care about a regular frequency?

I understand why you'd think

I understand why you'd think that - but there is a certain expectation in reading feeds - i know for a fact, that every morning, my favorite blogs will have something fresh for me to read - it affects my perception of them, and hence infrequent blogs are not on my attention radar and are usually not "my favorites".

It's not as important as it would be pre-rss, but it *is* important.

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