— 17 March 2004 —

On Andrei’s On Jakob

Andrei’s post over at Design by Fire is an excellent deconstruction of Jakob Neilsen’s recent useit article. It seems that, to the extent that Andrei deconstructs, Yakob’s offering was the last straw.

For me, the previous useit article was the last straw. It caused quite a stir here between the people who are more the ‘academics’ and we lowly practitioners. I wrote my own deconstruction of the article, but upon re-reading it I thought: what’s the point? The post is still sitting in draft mode and I doubt I will publish it.

I do appreciate, and agree with Andrei’s deconstruction of Yakob, but I ask with genuine desire to know: what’s the point?

In many ways (qualitatively speaking of course;) I wouldn’t have the job I do now without Yakob’s work. But, as with all things that time affects, there comes a point where those who follow become those who lead. I look at the alertbox as the rocking chair on Yakob’s porch. Just replace the traditional, “Get off my lawn,” with “Make everything usable!”

Sitting on that rocking chair, Yakob still has much to offer in knowledge and wisdom, but I think he has yet to realize that he is sitting on the chair. We should go to him when we need something specific, something that he can answer, but for the most part we’s all grown up now. We can do the research on our own. We can design beautiful and usable things, and we know when to put the emphasis on preference and when to put it on performance.

I suppose my open letter to everyone is to let it go. Yakob seems to piss off people disproportionately to the issues he raises, or more often than not, misses. Take Yakob’s articles with a truck load of salt. Look at them solely as “opinion pieces.”

Yakob is deserving of our acknowledgement, but rarely will he be deserving of our energy beyond that acknowledging nod.

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