Pixels of the Week – March 10, 2024

Nielsen messed up on accessibility, slider UX & the conspiracy to kill IE6

My curated weekly-ish online newsletter, where I share interesting articles, tools, and resources I found during the week. You can expect content about UX, design, user research, accessibility & tech, but also some processes, some inspiration, sometimes books, and a couple of videos and podcasts. Also, don’t forget to, subscribe to the newsletter to get notified, you will get the weekly links directly in your mailbox, and be notified when I publish other articles.

Jakob Nielsen’s latestes messed up views on accessibility and AI

Screenshot of the article "we need to talk about jakob"

For once, I’m not starting the newsletter about what I’m up to, but about what happened this week in the UX / Accessibility community.

Matt May says it best: “Jakob Nielsen woke up one morning last week and chose violence.” and decided that accessibility has failed, and generative UI built with AI will solve this. According to Jakob, there were no accessibility improvements in the last 30 years, it’s also too expensive and doomed to create a substandard user experience. I don’t know if Jakob was living on a rock, or just wanted to write a clickbait title to push yet another content about AI. A couple of people reacted to this including Matt in We need to talk about Jakob and Per Axbom in On Nielsen’s ideas about generative UI for resolving accessibility. Anna Cook also voiced her issues with that article and makes some very good points. She explains that Jakob’s article is based on his (very poor) understanding of screen reader accessibility. But he isn’t a blind user, and doesn’t really bing the point of view of any actual screen reader user in his article. If you want actual data from screen reader users, WebAIM published their Screen Reader User Survey #10 Results. (you can also check 10 takeaways from the WebAIM Screenreader Survey for a short summary). Leoni Watson (accessibility expert and blind screen reader user) answered with Nielsen needs to think again, where she explains how she uses the web and a computer on a daily basis. Sheri Byrne-Haber (another disability advocate) called him out on LinkedIn too, calling this retoric “snake oil”. If you want more reactions, Eric Bailey compiled some more links in On Jakob Nielsen, AI hype, and accessibility and Adrian Roselli put together Jakob Has Jumped the Shark, another list of reactions.

Honestly, I don’t have much to add to what all of those experts are saying, and agree with their points. I find it very disrespectful to people working in the field of accessibility, but also to disabled users, to throw things around like “Traditional methods for accessibility have been tried for 30 years without substantially improving computer usability for disabled users.”. I also have an issue with the fact that he perpetrates the myth that accessibility costs too much money, while many advocates spent years trying to explain it doesn’t have to when built into projects. Imagine someone saying usability hasn’t progressed in 30 years and costs too much… I guess someone could benefit from Accessibility Myths.

To be fair, I’m not sure what we expected from someone who wants only to hire the “top 1-2% of the population in intelligence” and uses ableist language in the job offer (see That unpleasant job posting from Nielsen Norman Group for reference)

Interesting frameworks and concepts

10 Heuristics to Simplify Design Decision-Making Patrick Morgan goes beyond the usual Nielsen Heuristics with a couple of nice nuggets here. I really like the Gaiman law (yes the author): “Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.”. That translates into: users are good at identifying problems, not that much at finding solutions.

Most popular content this week

Sliders degrade UX (so do this instead) (5min) Adam Silver offers 2 alternatives to slides. I agree with him, they are hard to control for many people, and there’s even a WCAG criteria about those (2.5.1). His tips are quite nice alternatives too, to pointer gesture in the case of a slider, to make those pass the criteria, yeahy! Continue the conversation on LinkedIn, Mastodon or TwitterX

Interesting articles that caught my attention

Design and UX Research

  • Finding the Intersection Between Market Research & User Research (10min): the difference between the 2 and why you need both for a successful product
  • Petition for a Usable Internet (12min)  The Internet is very powerful. Despite its ability and usefulness as a tool, recent trends have rendered this globally unpredictable and frustrating from a user experience. Main offenders are surprise pop-ups, annoying notifications, untrue importance signaling that seeks user’s attention, complex interfaces, cryptic icons, etc.
  • 3 Reasons to start doing customer service research today (6min) analyzing customer service data, doing research with customer service representatives and researching customer service topics with your target audience can help you improve UX (the best experience is the one where you don’t need to talk to support), maximize profit and increase loyalty.

Blogging, tech industry, job and AI

  • How I respond to aggressive comments (8min) part of me admires the idea of answering with extreme politeness. That being said, I’ve often be in a position where the other person was clearly sealioning. I’m not sure any level of politeness would help in such cases, since the goal is to make you waste your time. Unfortunately, it’s sometimes hard to spot. My current solution: I’ve an FAQ with links to common answers I would give, and I just link to that part of the FAQ. It help avoid taking too much of my time and brain space.
  • Why can’t the Government get tech right?  (12min) the story of a giant US gov tech project that went wrong
  • How my dream design job turned into a nightmare (15min) Matej Latin shares how his dream job became a nightmare due to unrealistic expectations, poor communication, and a toxic work environment. He also gives pointers to try to avoid this: don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself, try to recognize signs of toxic culture (aka it’s not you, it’s them) to know when it’s a dead end, and, if you can, leave.
  • Is GenAI’s Impact on Productivity Overblown? (15min, might have paywall) LLMs might not be the productivity booster they’re promised to be. Shocking, right? (Nope). I’m happy we are slowing down on the whole pro innovation bias, and start seeing more nuances articles. Ben Waber and Nathanael J. Fast explain that they could improve performance only for specific tasks. But, if you take a look at the global picture, they also often generate misleading information that can have a bigger long term negative effect on employees and their work, and internal processes. This gets worse when models are trained on their own outputs. LLMs can also amplify existing biases against marginalized communities. So, companies should carefully consider such risks before implementing LLMs across the organization, have a data driven approach, and make sure people don’t overly rely on them.

Last but not least, this one made me smile: A Conspiracy To Kill IE6 (10min) you know what you say “It’s easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission”, well how a team at YouTube put a banner to end put in nail in the coffin of IE6

Curiosity cabinet: non-design/tech rabbit holes I enjoyed

I Tried Houdini’s Deadliest Trick (trigger warning: person submerged without breathing in a tank full of water). An impression video, where Michelle Khare explains how she trained to recreate the houdini’s trick where he escapes from handcuffs in a tank of water.

Inspiration: fun experiments, beautiful art, and great ideas

Useful tools & resources


  • Chartline a Figma plugin to create beautiful chart lines with ease, for example if you design dashboards
  • Pattern Texture Pack. Sometimes you don’t know you need something until you do, maybe you want to bookmark this Figma texture pack.

Other nice resources

  • Digital Defense a nice interactive checklist and guide to help you secure your digital life and protecting your privacy, from authentication to browsers, emails, social media, networks and more.
  • BookPecker.com if you don’t have time to read books, you can get 14509 books summarized in 5 bullet points. Also, useful to decide if you actually want to buy / read the book
  • Landing Pages Explained a collection of leading SaaS and creator landing pages with expert explanations of the ideas used to increase conversion
  • NSFW JS a client side indecent content checking tool, based on TensorFlow. I gave it a try and it thinks break kneading is porn, so, I still think you need manual check at some point.
  • Things Unexpectedly Named After People: did you know that Lake Mountain was actually named after George Lake, and MySQL after My Widenius, the co-founder Monty Widenius’s daughter’s name?

Cool and Interesting Videos

The Paradox of Being Nice (trigger warning: death) In this fictional video, we follow one of the final conversations of a middle-aged couple. When it becomes apparent that time is warning to its end, they begin to realize how little they might truly know about each other.


Micro-note on aria-roledescription: don’t use aria-roledescription to identify the photo of a fascist, this is a job for figcaption!

Reader’s Corner

I’m adding a new section this week (I am open to a new name). This will feature interesting tools, resources, and articles that readers can submit. For now, you can submit them by contact form, or via my social media. If this becomes a cool thing, I might put it in a specific form.

This week: Why Japan’s Public Toilets are Amazing, proposed by Gabriel N on mastodon. A very detailed and interesting analysis of the public toilets in Japan, with a comparison for other countries.

Latest news in the industry

iOS 17.4 won’t remove Home Screen web apps in the EU after all, yeahy looks like Apple decided to back on their decision to kill PWAS!