Link to: Weblog Usability: The Top Ten Design Mistakes (Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox)

Jakob Nielsen, one of the ‘net’s leading experts on web usibility, site design, and designing effective user interfaces, has posted some suggestions for improving the readibility of your weblog. Blogging management systems frees writers from many of the compexities of web design, but following some relatively simple practices can make it easier for new readers to find their ways around your blog and increases the chances that they’ll return.

Some of the suggetions–like posting your picture on your blog or providing a detailed “about page”–might not be appropriate for anonymous blogs, but other suggestions remind us of ways that almost anyone’s writing could be improved.

Your posting’s title is microcontent and you should treat it as a writing project in its own right. On a value-per-word basis, headline writing is the most important writing you do.

Other tips concern navigation–like the effective use of categories.

Categories must be sufficiently detailed to lead users to a thoroughly winnowed list of postings. At the same time, they shouldn’t be so detailed that users face a category menu that’s overly long and difficult to scan. Ten to twenty categories are appropriate for structuring many topics.

On the main page for each category, highlight that category’s evergreens as well as a time line of its most recent postings.

Those of you who are doing mid-course assessments of your weblogs may want to think about some of these issues and suggestions.