When I was first getting serious about web design I discovered Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox and was totally inspired. There was something about the ascetic style, black verdana type, yellow header and scattershot of bold that just fascinated me. I pored over the site and stayed up late at night reworking projects with fresh inspiration and higher standards. I even found a company to work for that was as nerdy about this stuff as I was. And then somehow—I don’t know how—I just forgot about the guy.
Today my forgetfulness took a kick in the seat when Jason linked me to this Alertbox article. This site just doesn’t look old. It’s still fresh and clear and distinctive. And the content? Show numbers as numerals. The F-Pattern. Active versus passive voice. The first two words. It’s all rock solid. It still has that new car smell. There’s no fad in here.
Timelessness is a mark of mastery. And few things are healthier than being reminded of how your best work rests on the shoulders of people who inspired you through their example. So I’m glad I took some time today for a usability refresher from Mr. Nielsen.