Top Ten Web Design Mistakes of 2005 (Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox)

Summary: The oldies continue to be goodies — or rather, baddies — in the list of design stupidities that irked users the most in 2005.

For this year’s list of worst design mistakes, I decided to try something new: I asked readers of my newsletter to nominate the usability problems they found the most irritating.

I assumed that asking for reader input would highlight many issues that I hadn’t noticed in my own user testing. This was not the case. Instead, all of the top thirty problems were covered in existing usability guidelines. Thus, when you read this year’s top ten list, you’ll probably say, “Yes, I’ve heard about this before.” That’s okay.

There’s value in reminding ourselves of past findings and raising their priority on the agenda of things to be fixed. Because these mistakes continue to be so common, it makes sense that people continue to complain about them the most.

1. Legibility Problems
Bad fonts won the vote by a landslide, getting almost twice as many votes as the #2 mistake. About two-thirds of the voters complained about small font sizes or frozen font sizes; about one-third complained about low contrast between text and background. (more…)