Ensuring the Usability of the Next Computing Paradigm

Jakob Nielsen, SUN Microsystems

Seminar on People, Computers, and Design
Stanford University October 4, 1996


The very definition of the concept of "a computer" is changing as is the source of much of the user experience. User interfaces defined by traditional software companies will be frameworks for dynamic content provided by (soon) millions of servers around the world. The battle of Triceratops (Netscape Navigator) vs. Tyrannosaurus (Internet Explorer) will be overshadowed by the battle of the mice (Websites) vs. the elephants (television networks). Unfortunately, this new world is in dire danger of a usability meltdown: the Net may be brought to its knees, not by the bandwidth collapse forseeen by most commentators, but by user revolt.


Dr. Nielsen is a Distinguished Engineer at SunSoft working on advanced Web technology. His books include "Multimedia and Hypertext: The Internet and Beyond", "Usability Engineering", "Usability Inspection Methods" (with Bob Mack) and "International User Interfaces" (with Elisa del Galdo). He writes a monthly column on Web usability at http://www.sun.com/columns/alertbox


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