03:15 AM

Top design guru Jakob Nielsen on blogs...

By Tom Foremski for SiliconValleyWatcher

I’ve been trying to convince Jakob Nielsen, (Nielsen Norman Group) the uber-uber usability guru to run a study on the design issues around blogs.

Mr Nielsen said that there was nobody to fund the study, especially bloggers. I said he could create a lot of public good by helping to improve blogs because they are probably the most common content publication on the web, with tens of millions of blogs, yet no usability study.

This is a way to advise millions of bloggers on best practices and help a lot of people navigate through large amounts of content. He said there were many things that were common to blogs and any other online publishing format.

There are basic questions I’d like to know, for example:

Q: Is it better to let people click down the page or click to a new page for continued stories?

A: That depends on the content. If you make a user click to a new page and there is just one line of text--there is no reward. There has to be some reward for clicking to a new page, there has to be at least three to five paragraphs of content. And the content had better provide value.

Also, in long pieces online, it is better to use subheads to break up the column and flag to the reader what is ahead, which allows them to judge whether it is worth reading to the end.

Q: What do you dislike about blogs?

When bloggers hide links behind a word. That does not work, users want to know where the link will take them. It should be clearly labeled and not hidden.

(more advice to bloggers from Jakob next week on Thought Leader Thursday ;-)