Jakob Nielsen on Weblogs

By Deane Barker on October 17, 2005

Weblog Usability: The Top Ten Design Mistakes: My boy Jakob Nielsen takes on blogs in this version of the “10 Biggest Mistakes” list. He has some good advice. Here are the 10 and what we have done or plan to do about them:

  1. No Author Biographies
    I want to do one of these, but I can’t force by co-bloggers to do one too. I’ll write one up this week.

  2. No Author Photo
    This make take longer, and I doubt anyone but me would go for it. All the other authors have outstanding warrants.

  3. Nondescript Posting Titles
    We do pretty good here, though sometimes we go for humor value. I’ve compained about this here in relation to the comment of the posts themselves.

  4. Links Don’t Say Where They Go
    Yes, this is a problem. I wish we included TITLE attributes on every link, but we don’t. The problem is that they add friction to the publishing process, and friction reduces content production. I wish I could say we’d do better here, but I doubt it.

  5. Classic Hits are Buried
    Yeah, they are, and I have a big. over-arching plan for this that’s simmering on the back burner. You almost need an “metablog,” where you keep track of notable posts in another blog…but perhaps that’s getting absurd. I did recap a lot of posts in my bit on Post #4,000.

  6. The Calendar is the Only Navigation
    Ditched it long ago. I’ve always wondered what the point of them was — when do you think, “I really want to read everying from…June 5…”

  7. Irregular Publishing Frequency
    We publish enough that this isn’t really a problem. We may have a dry spell for a few days, but that’s about it. With RSS, I think problem is minimized too, since staying subscribed to a feed doesn’t take any effort.

  8. Mixing Topics
    This is a perenial problem, but we don’t get too ridiculous. My theory has always been to post about stuff that interests me personally so that if you’re like me, then you’ll like it too.

  9. Forgetting That You Write for Your Future Boss
    I never, ever forget this — I think about it all the time. There are a lot of posts that don’t see the light of day for this very reason. Unless my boss is Fabian Pascal, I think I’ll be okay.

  10. Having a Domain Name Owned by a Weblog Service
    No problem.

All in all, a good list.

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  1. I think his #7 would have been better devoted to the importance of implementing good and easily discoverable RSS feeds, which make it easier for more and more weblog readers to keep up with their favorites without having to keep track of a posting schedule, no matter how regular.

  2. Deane, I went ahead and started your bio:

    The details of my life are quite inconsequential… very well, where do I begin? My father was a relentlessly self-improving boulangerie owner from Belgium with low grade narcolepsy and a penchant for buggery. My mother was a fifteen year old French prostitute named Chloe with webbed feet. My father would womanize, he would drink. He would make outrageous claims like he invented the question mark…

    Let me know when you’re ready for the rest of it.

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