Jakob Nielsen (usability consultant)
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Jakob Nielsen (born 1957 in Copenhagen, Denmark) is a writer, speaker, and consultant on software and web-design usability. He earned a Ph.D. in user interface design and computer science from the Technical University of Denmark. Nielsen worked at Bellcore, IBM, and as a senior researcher at computer company Sun Microsystems. In 1991, when the Web was new, Nielsen correctly predicted that hypertext was the future of user interface design and wrote a comprehensive book about it: Hypertext and Hypermedia, published in 1990. Multimedia and Hypertext: The Internet and Beyond, an updated version of the textbook, was published in 1995 to take into account the success of the Web.
After his regular articles on his Web site about usability research attracted media attention, he subsequently co-founded usability consulting company Nielsen Norman Group with fellow usability expert Donald Norman.
Nielsen is a controversial leading authority on web usability. Engineering-oriented and emphatically not a graphic designer, he is noted for harsh criticisms of popular websites, contending that many concentrate too heavily on design features he views as gimmicky — like animation, Flash and graphics — at the expense of usability, particularly for disabled visitors. Nielsen continues to write a fortnightly newsletter on web design matters and has published several books on the subject of web design.
His published books include:
- Hypertext and Hypermedia (1990) (ISBN 0-12-518410-7)
- Usability Engineering (1994) (ISBN 0-12-518406-9)
- Designing Web Usability: The Practice of Simplicity (1999) (ISBN 1-56205-810-X)
- Homepage Usability: 50 Websites Deconstructed (2001) (ISBN 0-7357-1102-X)
- Prioritizing Web Usability (2006) (ISBN 0-321-35031-6)