I have to say that one thing that has always bugged me about Jakob Nielsen’s web site is the complete lack of visual aesthetic. The impression that I get from his site is that good usability means ugly web design. Contrary to that impression, I believe that by applying standard visual design principles such as grouping content, making headlines that are easy to scan, and using white space to guide the user’s eye, usability can be significantly enhanced.
Fortunately, a group of professional web designers at Design by Fire thought the same thing, and tried to actually doing something about it. Who knows whether Jakob will see their work, but I thought they did a great job of taking a page from his site, and applying their trade.