Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox for 17 October 2005 is Weblog Usability: The Top Ten Design Mistakes. In other words, it’s a top-ten list of things not to do on your blog if you care about usability.
Since I care about usability, I decided to test my own weblog against Jakob’s top-ten list. How did I fare?
No author biography: Fail. Oops, got me there. While I have a bio on the Community Projects site, I don’t even link to it from my blog.
No author photo: Fail. Oops, again. I don’t have a photo of myself on the blog, nor on any other site (that I know of).
Nondescript posting titles: Pass. I generally give my posts informative titles such as How to change symlinks atomically. Only rarely do I use cutesy titles that force readers to guess what the post is about.
Links don’t say where they go: Pass. As a reader, I find “click here” links to be annoying, and so I avoid the practice in my writing.
Classic hits are buried: Pass. I link to popular topics in the Popular Topics sidebar.
The calendar is the only navigation: Pass. My posts are organized by topic as well as by date. Further, the ever-present live search makes finding posts by content easy.
Irregular publishing frequency: Fail. I don’t have a regular posting schedule. When work gets heavy, for example, I rarely post.
Mixing topics: Semi-Pass. I do mix up topics somewhat, but almost all of my topics fall into the category of “stuff programming geeks like” and in that regard are fairly consistent.
Forgetting that you write for your future boss: Pass. I don’t think there is anything on my blog that a future employer would find troubling or even unprofessional. (Since I am a consultant, I have lots of “employers,” and so far none of them seem to mind what I post. Some - the crazy ones - even enjoy my blog.)
Having a domain name owned by a weblog service: Pass. Since 1996 I have been keeping it real on moertel.com. My blog’s home is blog.moertel.com, which seems like the natural place for it.
In sum, I made three of Jakob’s top-ten weblog usability mistakes:
- I don’t have an author bio.
- I don’t have an author photo.
- I don’t post regularly.
The first two are easy to fix, and I’ll fix them right away. The third - posting regularly - is more difficult, owing to the ever-varying demands of my work load, but I’ll make an effort to pick up the pace. Hopefully, my blog will 100 percent “Jakob compliant” in the next day or so.
Do you have a weblog? If so, how many weblog usability mistakes do you make? Grab Jakob’s top-ten list and find out.