Nielsen rating: low

This article by Jakob Nielsen has been showing up on for the past couple of days, and although I have no real argument with it I can’t figure out why it’s popular. What it says could be reduced to a paragraph or less—Nielsen’s own one-sentence summary at the top of the page:

Optimize Web pages for 1024x768, but use a liquid layout that stretches well for any resolution, from 800x600 to 1280x1024.

seems perfectly adequate and is not really improved upon by the rest of the page. I can’t see why anyone would need to bookmark such a simple statement. If Nielsen gave us ideas on how to optimize our pages for various sizes (and just what he means by “optimize”) I’d be happy to bookmark it, but he doesn’t give any practical advice, just repetition of the oracular statement in the summary and an exhortation to go out and buy bigger monitors.

While I’m at it, I might as well mention that I find his site extremely ugly—especially the bright yellow banner across the top—and dificult to read. When my browser window is at its usual width there can be as many as 135 characters in a line, which is far too wide. (And I use a larger-than-normal default font size to ease the strain on my middle-aged eyes.) It makes me think “usability” is a field too immature to be trusted.