Lead with Knowledge

Learn to secure your PCs from new and unknown hacker attacks.

Free IDC White Paper - Discover Secure File Sharing for the Enterpriseattacks.

Home  //  Article
Print Article    Email Article
E-Business Secrets
Brian Livingston
Don't slavishly imitate Amazon, Web expert says

I caught up with Web guru Jakob Neilsen at one of the last stops on his User Experience World Tour, a seminar on Web usability. The tour hit 13 cities on four continents, everywhere from Munich, Germany, to Hong Kong. This is the guy who says WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) stands for "Wrong Approach to Portability" -- the small screens and slow downloads of cell phones are poorly used by today's content providers, he says.

Last month Neilsen released a nine-part report describing what he calls "219 usability guidelines" for Internet e-commerce sites. His company, Norman Neilsen Group, asked average consumers in Europe and the United States to test 10 top-selling Web sites and 10 medium-selling sites. The company found variations in the percentage of the 219 guidelines used by these sites.

-- met 72% of the guidelines

-- The next nine best-selling sites met 51%

-- The 10 medium-selling sites met only 37%

Despite the fact that Amazon seems to be doing something right (at least they have large sales numbers, if not profits), Neilsen told me in an interview, "People make the mistake of copying Amazon literally and end up with a site that isn't so good for what they want to do."

I've reviewed all nine parts of Neilsen's new report, which sells for $45 per part, or $400 for a bound set. For anyone who develops e-commerce sites, the cost is well worth it, but in case you don't want to pay that much, I'll summarize the best points for you in my next two issues of E-Business Secrets. Stay tuned.

Norman Neilsen's E-Commerce User Experience Report:

Livingston's E-Business book review

Despite the meltdown of dot-com stocks, many Web sites are steadily and quietly building their business revenue. In his new book, "E-Business to Go," G. Liam Thompson explains many of the secrets of these sites. As a consultant to clients like BASF, Bausch & Lomb, and Monsanto, Thompson has worked with some of the best and now co-directs Brighton Interactive, a Midwestern communications company.

His book reviews five categories of "apps on tap" -- the outside services that are the most often sought out by businesses in need of development help. If you're in e-commerce, Thompson can show you some tools that are well worth the time and trouble.

E-Business to Go: Insider Secrets to make your Small Business a Big Business on the Internet

by G. Liam Thompson (Appallaso Publishing)


1. Some pay sites are actually starting to make money

2. NorthPoint DSL folds, what about Rhythms and Covad?

3. Truste played a role in eBay's privacy policy change

4. Here are the best job-finding sites and methods ...

5. And if that doesn't work, auction yourself off

6. 93 percent prefer snail mail for financial documents

7. Amazon improvement may presage e-commerce turnaround

8. NBC to fold NBCi back into own new-media operations

9. IRS e-biz growth: One-third of individuals now file online

10. Researching colleges? Here are the sites to check

This week's 'They can't do that on the Web' page

I use a 21-inch 1600 x 1200 monitor on my desk, and I've also purchased one for each of my two research directors. Besides working with large spreadsheets, this allows us to open four browser windows and tile them. Each window is the size that most Net users see.

That's right, 800 x 600 resolution is used by the majority of Web surfers (54 percent), according to a DreamInk demographics page. And 12.7 percent still use 640 x 480. Combined, that's two-thirds of everyone using the Web. Think about that the next time you're designing a page you want people to read.

DreamInk's Web page on Internet demographics:

E-BUSINESS SECRETS - Our mission is to bring you such useful and thought-provoking information about the Web that you actually look forward to reading your e-mail.

Brian Livingston's latest book is Windows Me Secrets (IDG Books). Send tips to


Business News

SUBSCRIBE TO:    E-mail Newsletters  InfoWorld Mobile InfoWorld Magazine
Home  //  Article Print Article    Email Article
Back to Top


Protect Your Data: Get your FREE Enterprise Backup Intelligence Kit from ADIC.
New HP digital projectors — click now for limited-time introductory offers.
SeeBeyond Webinar - Topic: UCCnet, Thurs., 9/26/02 , 8-9 am PST
The Sun™ LX50 server with Linux or the Solaris™ OE. Click here.
Limited-time offer to optimize your distributed network from Volera

E-mail Newsletters
InfoWorld Mobile
Print Magazine

Web-based training

Copyright 2001 InfoWorld Media Group, Inc.