Jakob Nielsen is the one of the world’s leading Web usability experts. What that actually means is that people spend a lot of time criticizing him, as he spends a lot of time criticizing them. That’s especially true because his website, Useit.com, is stripped of flashiness to the point of looking a lot like a HyperCard slide deck circa 1992 — but without any visuals.
Nielsen has finally delivered a new verdict on the mobile web (it’s been about nine years), and, to the surprise of no one, he hates it. Regular phones are “horrible,” smart phones are “bad,” and the iPhone is “impoverished.” He also says some fairly common sense things that are none-the-less often ignored, like, design a website that fits the strengths of the device that will view it.
The only really interesting line comes near the end, when he makes reference to Silicon Valley legend Alan Kay’s proclamation that the Mac was “the first computer worth criticizing.”
“Similarly, the iPhone is the first mobile Internet device worth criticizing. It’s a starting point for mobile online-services access, not an endpoint.
Although devices will get better, the big advances must come from websites. Sites (including intranets) must develop specialized designs that optimize the mobile user experience. Today, few sites have mobile versions, and those that do are usually very poorly designed, without knowledge of the special guidelines for mobile usability.”
Well said. And absolutely true.