Wednesday, April 04, 2001

Uninformed article by Jakob Nielsen Nielsen, the usability guru, recently published this piece about why Microsoft's new HailStorm idea may not be that bad for customers. It also reveals how little he understands about business, competition, and suggests why usability is so looked down upon in the IT field, if it's most visible spokesman makes idiot suggestions like this one.

Nielsen argues that by charging customers for service, Microsoft will be forced to improve its usability. He seems to forget that Microsoft has been charging customers for service for many years now, and the usability of its products has gone down. He also forgets that Microsoft abuses its monopoly power to drive competitors out of the market, which means customers have no alternative than to continue using Microsoft products. He also forgets that through this strategy, most people have no idea what good software should be. People think it's OK if a program crashes several times a day, a level of quality they do not tolerate in anything else, but that Microsoft has successfully established as the norm.

Nielsen does the usability field no good by flouting his ignorance.


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