Monday, October 24, 2005

Top Ten Blogging Mistakes

Jakob Nielsen has published a list of the Top Ten Design Mistakes made by bloggers. Mr. Nielsen is a smart guy, but he's not half as funny as David Letterman.

Here's how my blog measures up:
  1. No Author Biographies. Guilty.

  2. No Author Photo. Guilty.
    (Then again, I don't post dozens of high resolution photos of myself like Mr. Nielsen)

  3. Nondescript Posting Titles. Not guilty.

  4. Links Don't Say Where They Go. Not guilty.
    (I'm on a roll.)

  5. Classic Hits are Buried. Guilty.
    (Well, I was on a roll.)

  6. The Calendar is the Only Navigation. Not guilty.

  7. Irregular Publishing Frequency. Guilty.

  8. Mixing Topics. Guilty.

  9. Forgetting That You Write for Your Future Boss. Not guilty.
    (Heck, I am writing for my current boss most of the time.)

  10. Having a Domain Name Owned by a Weblog Service. Guilty.
Four out of ten is pretty bad. Why am I doing this again?

Update. I previously ended this post in mid-thought. To answer my own question, I expect this blog to be read by only a handful of colleagues, friends, and family. It started as an experiment and I keep going mostly because I enjoy writing. Getting a better score on the "Nielsen test" is the least of my concerns -- especially if it requires a lot of work.

Of course, I do hope people enjoy Runtime Log. Many thanks for reading!


Roy said...


I hope you don't take your "test score" too seriously ie I hope you don't stop writing.

I am a regular reader of your blog. I enjoy your insights, your writing style, and the varied topics you blog about.

Thanks for doing it.

Dave Delay said...

Thanks, Roy. I don't take it too seriously. I added an Update to explain.

Ned Batchelder said...

BTW: Did you notice that one of Jakob's colleagues now is Kara Coyne (Pernice) who used to do usability at Iris? She's in some of the (many!) photos that you linked to.

Dave Delay said...

I remember when Kara moved to New York to work with Don Norman. I saw the pictures yesterday, but it's funny, it just didn't click. Thanks for pointing her out, Ned.

According to her company bio, Kara is now Director of Research and the head of east coast operations at Nielsen Norman Group. That's awesome.

Brian said...

I very much enjoy reading your blog Dave. Don't ever stop!

And I could care less what Jakob Nielsen thinks.

NotesTracker said...

A little bit tongue-in-cheek, but despite what the gurus and consultants say, my take is: "Who cares, as long as it works and is not blatantly unusable?" as being a good enough single rule to follow -- in blogging, web site design, or many other fields.

In a similar vein, in the late 1970s and early 1980s, while supporting the IBM System/38 with its revolutionary microcode-level database, I tried hard to understand as much as I could about the then relatively new field of relational databases.

I recall that the so-called father of relational DB theory Edgar "Ted" Codd came out with a set of four rules that you could use as a bssis to decide whther or not if a particular implementation was truly relational. Then over the years he grew his number of rules: to six, eight, ten, twelve rules. So what was a proper relational implemention before gradually became less and less relational!

These rules didn't seem ever to stop lots of great DB applications from being designed even if the developer was ignornant of the rules. I don't know if the IBM System/38 or its successors the IBM AS/400 and iSeries ever were accepted as "truly relational" but there have been hundreds of thousands of these machines installed all over the world and being used by very satisifed customers.

I've got a few blogs (like you, on and am not too concerned about religiously following all of Jakob's rules ... There are many other more important things to worry about.

All the same, it doesn't hurt to put some thought into how you blog. I took one of the templates and reworked it a fair bit to fit in with my own feelings about usability and content design (having read some of Jakob's books and being quite empathetic with many of his ideas).

Tony Austin.