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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
For those of us who do not design Web sites but must distill what makes them effective, this is a great resource. Design and usability expert Steve Krug has pulled together an easy-to-read book that is not only instructive but visually appealing and often amusing. His tenets are basic, but he is smart enough to recognize how everyone has an opinion on Web design and not necessarily a very informed one. Krug's philosophy is that the most effective Web sites come from solid, integrated design that addresses a need tangible to the user. He spends the bulk of the book proving just how valid his philosophy is.

The author cites successful examples recognizable to even the most mundane surfer, for example, the tabular navigation structure of Amazon. But he doesn't shy away from those sites he finds lacking like the now-defunct Productopia site, which I agree had a confusing home page. Krug even presents site redesigns given his druthers, and the improvement is quite discernible. Using the helpful analogy of street signs, the author identifies the criticality of using persistent navigation, clear site sections and utilities and a search tool as components of a highly usable site. In order to engage the reader, Krug provides what he calls "trunk test" sites in which he tests us to identify missing elements and attempts to elicit site improvements. I particularly like this approach since it helps make Krug's guiding principles resonate more clearly.

The last part of the book provides a precise overview of usability testing. He provides helpful examples of questions to ask users and even includes a session transcript he conducted himself. Krug strongly believes in not structuring the testing to the point where honest feedback cannot be attained. In fact, he feels that instead of placing the onus on one expensive scientific test that it makes far more sense to conduct many simple affordable tests from beginning to end. I agree with Krug that the value of testing does not come from the collection of quantitative data but rather the qualitative findings that lead toward better design decisions. Krug expresses some similarly strong opinions about home page design and the credibility of so-called subject matter experts. Fortunately, with a decade under his belt at leading Internet companies like Netscape and AOL, he is certainly someone that deserves your attention.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on October 20, 2009
Steve Krug's "Don't Make Me Think! A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability" focuses on the steps necessary to ensure that your Web site is user-friendly. Steve Krug firmly believes that if something is too hard to use, people just won't use it. The number one priority that Steve believes people should focus on to ensure that their Web site is easy to use is simply "Don't make me think!" This means that as far as humanly possible when a user looks at a Web page it should be self-evident, obvious, and self-explanatory.
Throughout his book, Steve focuses on the importance of understanding Web users and their needs. Krug's "Common Sense Approach to Web Usability" is broken up into these 12 topics:

1. Krug's First Law of Usability
2. Scanning, satisficing, and muddling through
3. Designing pages for scanning, not reading
4. Why users like mindless choices
5. The art of not writing for the Web
6. Designing navigation
7. Designing the Home page
8. Why most Web design teams arguments about usability are a waste of time, and how to avoid them
9. Why user testing--done simply enough--is the cure for all your sites ills
10. Usability as a common courtesy
11. Accessibility, cascading style sheets
12. What to do when your boss wants you to do something you consider a bad decision.

Understanding Web users, their needs, and the basics of what makes them think will help with the design of any Web site. The most often things that make users think according to Krug are cute or clever names, marketing induced names, company-specific names, and unfamiliar technical names. He also describes links and buttons that aren't obviously clickable as "another needless source of question marks over people heads." Understanding the basic principle of what causes confusion for people and how to eliminate that confusion is the most important thing you can do to stop users from having to "think". The main reason it is so important not to make users think is because "most people are going to spend far less time looking at the pages we design than we'd like to think." Therefore, Websites need to be as self-explanatory as possible so they can be effective even at a glace.

Krug spends a lot of time explaining how the design layout of the Web site should look to ensure easy usability, the importance of the search bar/box, as well as how the text content should be written in order to be most effective. This book provided a lot of visual examples which helped readers to better understand what the details of the site should look like. Without the visuals, I would have been completely lost. A large portion of the book was also dedicated to Web navigation and designing the Home page. This is simply because the Home page is the first page users see and if people can't find their way around your Web site then they won't use it. I found these chapters to be particularly useful.

For those people who are working either alone or on a Web design team to design a Web site for a company or organization, this book offers great information on how to perform usability testing, particularly how to perform usability testing on a budget. It also touches on how to make your team the most productive they can be.
"Don't Make Me Think!" is the second edition to Steve Krug's first book that was published five years ago. Steve was reluctant to write a second edition, he worried that if he added more material the book would no longer "practice what it preaches". The book itself is a good example of what Web usability means, it's easy to understand and very straight forward. It was designed to be a short two hour "airplane" read which made it all the more appealing. As someone who hasn't read the first edition of the book, however, I don't know to what extent they differ but I feel that the additional chapters of the second edition (Usability as a common courtesy, Accessibility, Cascading Style Sheets, and you, and Help! My boss wants me to ______.) were unnecessary and a little off topic. I really enjoyed reading the entire book until chapter 10, the information provided after that was not useful for me personally and but perhaps others will find it valuable and enjoy it.

Overall, I would rate the book four out of five stars. I found it to be very interesting and an enjoyable read. The fact that it is so short, simple, and to the point made me feel as though Steve Krug was indeed "practicing what he preached." He talked a lot about making the Web users feel like you do understand and respect that their time is precious and that's how I felt when reading this book. I also found myself laughing out loud a few times which always helps to make a book more pleasing. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who is designing a Web site. The little time that it will take you to read this book is nothing compared to the money that you will save by creating a functional and user-friendly Web site.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 23, 2006
This book presents clear and consise information that will help improve your web site more than increasing your rank in Google will ever do. Why? Well, if you a user gets to your site but doesn't know what to click or where to find the information they want, then they'll leave. Don't Make Me Think gets you thinking in the mind of the user about how best to present your site in order for users to get the most out of it.

It's not a big book and you could probably summarise its contents in a few pages. However, it is an enjoyable read and contains lots of useful information with plenty of colourful pictures and diagrams.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon February 5, 2009
"Don't make me think" is the crux of website design and usability. Surfers are looking for particular information. They don't read; they scan. If they get confused, they leave.

This is a slim, easy-to-read book that provides several rules for creating sticky websites and gives graphical representations of good and bad design.

As a novice at website design, I found the book full of useful information, and I recommend it along with Letting Go of the Words: Writing Web Content that Works (Interactive Technologies) (Interactive Technologies).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 16, 2008
This book compels you to think about how people use websites. I tend to think in terms of visual appeal instead of funneling visitors towards a conversion. The author gives a lot of common sense ideas to use in compelling your visitors towards the actions you'd like them to perform. It's a good intro & I would recommend following up by reading Tim Ashs' "Landing Page Optimization" for more in depth material on this subject.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
This book gives the reader a lot to think about when designing or redesigning websites. This book provides an easy to read, simple approach on how users browse, search and use websites. A must have on any web developers, designers or project managers shelf.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 7, 2008
"Don't Make Me Think" refers to the way people tend to use the web: they don't read they scan. That means that your site needs to be organized to make identification and navigation as instinctive as possible. Having an efficient navigation system and laying out your content to clearly reveal the embedded hierarchy should go a long way towards achieving this goal. Don't forget a good search function.

One of the main point the author want's you to get is that having external users to test your site will give you valuable insights on how you can make it work for them. He walks us through such a test scenario, which is quite useful.

There is also a chapter on accessibility, which is nice and which gives us an easy way to make our site quite accessible to most. My favorite idea is to add a "skip to main content" link to the top of all pages. By styling it with a "display: none" it won't affect any layout would be very useful for blind people using screen readers. Food for hought.

Classification is one topic on which I disagree with the author though it's only noted in a footnote. His view is that "things" should live in one place on your site and if necessary use cross-references to bring people there. I think that "things" should live in all the probable places a user might want to look for it. On one side you have a hierarchy on the other you have a tagging system. Given growing popularity and ubiquity of tags, I think that this won't be much of a stretch for anyone in the near future.

This book was certainly worth reading. I have learnt quite a few things and I recommend it to all web developers.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 29, 2009
The title says it all.

Read this book before designing your Web site!

Steve looks at web page design from the point of view of the consumer. If your pages are easy to use and make sense to the average user, people are likely to stick around. If they do, you are more likely to influence them to buy and recommend you to others. He is interested in lowering your bounce rate and increasing the time people spend on your site.

Your site does not have to be the most beautiful, but it has to be easy to navigate and functional. It also has to make sense. Don't frustrate your customers.

He talks about usability testing as an early practice to find out how your site is coming along. Before investing too much effort creating a site that the development team loves, make sure consumers will love it also and be able to navigate it.
He is not interested in SEO per se in his thinking. A search engine will be able to find you and rank you if your pages are well thought out and carry proper labels. In his mind, ranking high in a search is only useful if people actually stick around and use the site for its intended purpose.

Steve gives enough information for you to do your own usability testing for very little expense.

I highly recommend this book.

I also recommend:The Truth About Search Engine Optimization

Phillip C. Neal DDS
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
All in all, while there doesn't seem to be a ton of NEW information for web designers that have been in the field for a few years or more, Steve does a fantastic job of taking all of the bits of knowledge and tying them together in a cohesive, easily understandable structure, shedding new light and insight along the way. That's not to say there is NO new information. Everyone will find something in here that they didn't know before. More importantly, however, are Steve's perspectives into really making what you already know work for you.

The book does a great job of breaking down the web design process in an easy to digest step-by-step process, calling out challenges, obstacles, and no-brainers along the way. I thoroughly enjoyed having lots of what I'd picked up over the years brought into focus and examined through new filters.

The one thing that I wish this book had is a detachable checklist. Or one that you can download and print from his website, [...] Now that the entire process is broken down and defined, it would have been nice to have a quick-reference checklist for practical use a day-to-day operations.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 8, 2014
This is a good book for the Web designer. For a beginner Krug walks you through the Web design process. A more experienced Web designer would also benefit from this book. Krug explains some of the mistakes that many Web designers are making and offers a better design alternative. Krug has written the book in a way that is easy to understand with plenty of real examples to support the text. The chapter on Web site usability testing is worth the cost of the book alone. Krug explains the importance of testing a Web site and leads the reader through the usability testing process providing outlines that will fit the level of testing the designer is able to perform. This should be a go to book on the Web designer's reference shelf.
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