August 27, 2003
If you work with interface design and have even the tiniest interest in usability, then you know who Jakob Nielsen is (if you need an introduction to this usability maven's body of work, get thee to useit.com and read the recent "PDF: Unfit for Human Consumption", "Are Users Stupid?", the controversial "Flash: 99% Bad", and the oldie but goodie, "The Need for Speed").
Nearly every developer I've pointed Jakob's way has returned with the same comment—the content is great, but could the site be any uglier? My defense usually alternates between pointing out the accessiblity of his content on every existing web client, be it desktop, screen reader, PDA or phone and the cheap shot/cop-out: "it's the information, stupid". In truth, his design bothered me, too.
The sponsors want you to know up front that this is not a Nielsen slam-fest, but a serious design contest to which Mr Nielsen has given his blessing. To drive this home, there are prizes, a FAQ, an entry form, serious judges and a chance at fame and glory for the winning design that employs valid tableless XHTML 1.0, CSS and meets the WAI Accessibility level 1 guidelines.
All entries must be submitted by October 31, 2003 with winners announced on November 7, 2003.
Check out these groovy promo buttons from the FAQ page; I particularly enjoy the first that gives you a feel for Jakob's sense of humor: