Pocket Profiles: Jakob Nielsen and Tim Brown

Jakob Nielsen

Jakob Nielsen is co-founders with Donald Norman of the Nielsen Norman Group. Nielsen is a user advocate and established the discount usability engineering movement. This movement advocated the improvement of user interfaces through fast and cheap methods. Further to this Nielsen holds 79 US patents primarily on ways to make using the internet easier.

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In a short clip on the 3 Goals of UX Design Nielsen highlights the importance of usefulness and how it is only achievable if an app or product has high levels of utility and usability setting the concept out as an equation:

utility + usability = usefulness

It is important to achieve usefulness in UX design because want people to use our systems and return to them using them again and again and if it’s for sale we want people not only to buy it but also keep using it once they have bought it so that they will recommend it to others. However, this is only achieved through utility and usefulness. Utility is what the system does, does it have the correct features, does it solve a user need, does it do something that people want to do. This is so important as no matter how beautiful a user interface is if does provide an actual need if it’s not connected to the right features it is essentially useless. Therefore, the features have to be correct and utility has to be high. Usability is equally important as it relates to peoples ability to learn, understand and operate the user interface efficiently. Therefore if usability is not high the feature becomes irrelevant as the person using the product can’t learn how to access and operate them.

This is a really important principle to remember when designing user interfaces and creating products and will be particularly beneficial for me to look at in more detail particularly coming up to my own creation and design of an app as these are the foundational principles that will dictate it’s success or failure. Regardless of anything else if these goals are not met whatever is being created no matter how interesting and engaging the design is it will not be useful and therefore it will not be successful.


Tim Brown

Tim Brown is an industrial designer and has won a number of design awards and has exhibited his work world wide. Brown is now the chair of IDEO and promotes learning and ideas about the value of design thinking, innovation and creative leadership.

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In Browns Ted Talk Designer-Think Big he focuses on design thinking and how as designers we have become focused on small outcomes, designing for products and thinking about athletics when we might put our minds to use working on bigger projects by thinking big.

This can be done a number of ways and Brown goes into good detail in several however the primary concepts that I took from the talk were: focusing on human need, prototyping earlier to move ideas along more quickly and moving the process away from the role of designer and towards the community i.e. getting those involved in the process that are apart of the culture and community that will be using or implementing the system and using their knowledge and expertise to create a better process.

This talk blew me away it’s so inspirational and again the ideas and concepts here are something I want to look into in more detail as I develop as a designer so that I can make a bigger impact on the word in some small way. There is so much to take away from this particularly that as a designer or within any area of life we should not limit ourselves to the pre-set options we should develop new option to create better outcomes and this is where change comes about. Again I feel that by approaching the development of my own product/app by thinking bigger, thinking of it in terms of a system and how it can actually benefit peoples lives.

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