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Name:Jakob Nielsen's Pumpkin Cheesecake Contributor:Jocelyn McAuley
Description:Jakob Nielsen's Pumpkin Cheesecake Posted:2005-10-18
Key words:pumpkin puree Category:Desserts
ID:647 Updated:2005-12-10 14:06:15
Ingredients:1 can of pumpkin puree
Preparation:Open the can and spread the pumpkin puree on a plate. Be sure to spread the pumpkin around the plate in a nice big pile to allow for Fitt's law*.

A minority of users will not have the appropriate fork hardware. To allow for these users, provide a text-only description of the pumpkin.

* http://www.asktog.com/basics/firstPrinciples.html#fitts's%20law
Notes:Courtesy of Paul at http://www.kiplog.com/jakobs_cheesecake.htm#jakobcake who is a fabulous foodie in his own right.

Jakob Nielsen's Pumpkin Cheesecake

Although cheesecake has its role as a dessert, the typical recipe tends to discourage usability for 3 reasons: it distracts users from the actual content, it introduces problems to fundamental food interaction, and it consumes resources that would be better spent eating the content.

Cheesecakes encourage gratuitous baking: Since we can bake things in a cake, why not bake things in a cake? Baking clearly has its place in pumpkin interaction. However, as my food interaction guidelines discuss, that place is limited.

Studies have shown that large numbers of ingredients tend to confuse cheesecake users and distract users from the actual content. The ingredients in the above recipe tend to serve as a 'container' for the content, which is the pumpkin. In order to allow the users to better find and concentrate on the content, the additional ingredients should be eliminated.

The cheesecake GUI also causes several navigation and accessibility problems, which are solved by separation of the content from the cheescake format.

The cheesecake format causes navigation issues such as "where to make the first cut" as well as accessibilty problems caused by the availabilty of the proper serving equipment. While the majority of eaters have a knife capable of cutting the cheesecake only 54% of Americans have a pie server, much less in other countries.

The rich cheesecake format also produces a heavy tax on eating resources. It was more than three times as common for users to limit their eating to three-quarters of a piece as opposed to eating a full piece. Even when eating the "full" piece, users only eat about 75% of the crust. Eliminating the cheescake format, allows users to 'download' more of the content faster.

If cheesecake was cheap to produce and if all food content creators could make a cheesecake as easily as they can open a can of pumpkin puree, then perhaps many of these problems would be alleviated. For now, they remain serious issues. I thus recommend that food providers interested in enhancing usability use the following cheesecake recipe.

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