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Topic: Technology

Effective Use of Style Sheets

July 1, 1997

CSS promotes site consistency and improved usability if linked (not embedded), centrally designed (not by page authors), and actively evangelized with example-rich style manuals. Respect user preferences.

The Telephone is the Best Metaphor for the Web

May 15, 1997

The telephone is a better metaphor than television for thinking about the Web and its potential: the Web is a 1-to-1, narrowcast, low bandwidth medium that is user-driven and where everybody can publish content.

The Need for Speed

March 1, 1997

All usability studies show that fast response times are essential for Web usability: let's believe the data for once! Advice for speeding up sites despite the fact that bandwidth is going down, not up.

WebTV Usability Review

February 1, 1997

Analysis of the usability of WebTV, including user interface guidelines for designing cross-platform Web pages that are considerate of WebTV users

The Death of File Systems

February 1, 1996

The file system has been a trusted part of most computers for many years, and will likely continue as such in operating systems for many more. However, several emerging trends in user interfaces indicate that the basic file-system model is inadequate to fully satisfy the needs of new users, despite the flexibility of the underlying code and data structures. Originally published as: 145. Nielsen, J. (1996). The impending demise of file systems. IEEE Software 13, 2 (March).

How Much Bandwidth is Enough? A Tbps!

November 1, 1995

In the long term we will need about a million times more bandwidth than a T1, as shown by the following list of requirements for the perfect user interface.

History has a Lesson for HotJava

June 1, 1995

Many users of the World Wide Web are unaware of the rich history of the hypertext field, and those who do not understand history are often doomed to repeat it. Case in point, the release of the Java language and the HotJava browser will probably mimic the events that followed the introduction of Hypercard in 1987.

Coping with Information Overload

February 1, 1995

Chapter 8 from Jakob Nielsen's book, Multimedia and Hypertext: The Internet and Beyond, explores a variety of information retrieval strategies for dealing with the ever-increasing volume of information on the internet.

The Future of Hypertext

February 1, 1995

Excerpt from Jakob Nielsen's 1995 book, Multimedia and Hypertext: The Internet and Beyond, offers predictions for the short term (3 to 5 year) and medium term (5 to 10 year) and long term (10 to 20 year) future of hypertext and the internet.

The History of Hypertext

February 1, 1995

Chapter 3 from Jakob Nielsen's book, Multimedia and Hypertext, describes the major milestones for hypertext, the internet, and the world wide web, including Vannevar Bush's Memex and Doug Engelbart's landmark demo of the online system (NLS.)

Architectural Component of Hypertext Systems

January 1, 1995

Hypertext systems include a Presentation level, a Hypertext Abstract Machine (HAM) level, and a Database level. The following sections describe each of the levels in further detail, starting at the bottom. (Chapter 5 from Jakob Nielsen's book, Multimedia and Hypertext.)

Noncommand User Interfaces

April 1, 1993

Several new user interface technologies and interaction principles seem to define a new generation of user interfaces that will move off the flat screen and into the physical world to some extent. Many of these next-generation interfaces will not have the user control the computer through commands, but will have the computer adapt the dialogue to the user's needs based on its inferences from observing the user. This article defines twelve dimensions across which future user interfaces may differ from the canonical window systems of today: User focus, the computer's role, interface control, syntax, object visibility, interaction stream, bandwidth, tracking feedback, interface locus, user programming, and software packaging. Nielsen, J. (1993). Noncommand user interfaces. Communications of the ACM 36, 4 (April), 83-99.

Response Times: The 3 Important Limits

January 1, 1993

How users react to delays in a user interface, whether website or application. The 3 main response time limits are determined by human perceptual abilities.

Three HyperCard Stacks on CD-ROM: A Review

January 1, 1989

A review of the Macintosh CD-ROM versions of The Manhole, the Time Table of History, and the Electronic Whole Earth Catalog with emphasis on their usability and their support of hypertext navigation. Based on the discussion of these hypertexts the following general principles are found to be useful for analyzing hypertext user interfaces: Navigational dimensions and their explicitness, directionality and literalness, landmarks, locational orientation, history lists, and backtrack mechanisms. Originally published as: Nielsen, J. (1990). Three medium-sized hypertexts on CD-ROM. ACM SIGIR Forum 24, 1, 2-10.

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