on January 3, 2014
There has been a noticeable shift in technology design - it's all about us - the users! In light of this change, Steve Krug has updated his bestselling guide to web usability. As he says himself, "The basic principles are the same even if the landscape has changed, because usability is about people and how they understand and use things, not about technology. And while technology often changes quickly, people change very slowly."
His core common sense approach remains the same, but with all the new devices that people are interacting with these days, the competitiveness of a product relies on how easy it is to use. You could pay for a professional like Krug to determine how usable your product is, if you can afford it. But even then, it's important to learn the principles yourself so you know whether the person you hire is considering and addressing the right issues. Happily, this book practices what it preaches, it's written in a friendly chatty way and well designed. In short, this great book goes down easy.
I've come across a lot of design books in my time and several in my last year while pursuing a higher education in graphic design - including a personal favorite The Practice of Creativity: A Manual for Dynamic Group Problem-Solving, which Krug strongly endorses in a previous edition's "Recommended Reading". It would have been so great to have this book at my disposal while I was studying website design because the information is so well organized. For my classes I was provided Peachpit software books, which I found a little hard to follow for being too text heavy. If you are going to educate on design principles, you should follow similar rhetoric. Krug's book organizes information in color, in tables, and often have entertaining illustrations.
These new chapters make the new book a must-buy:
Chapter 7 - Big Bang Theory of Web Design
Chapter 10 - Mobile: It's Not Just a City in Alabama
Chapter 13 - Guide for the Perplexed: Making usability happen when you live
on January 17, 2014
I read the book pretty fast, as I knew I would since the first one was a quick read as well. I've been waiting for it to come, especially since I had to speak at a tech conference a few weeks ago on "What We Know About Your Website Users."
I read it in three chunks, 30 minutes, then 1 hour on the treadmill walking and another hour on the treadmill today. I nearly injured myself only once when I dropped the book. So, in 3 hours or less, someone can learn a lot of important issues to consider about the making or redesign of a website!
I'm familiar with the older edition as it was required reading in grad school. Friends regularly ask me to look at their sites and usually the suggestions I make for improvement originate from usability guidelines in this book. Sometimes I get them to go buy it, and they come back to me with gratitude.
It's especially a great book for small business owners and soloprenuers who can't spend much money for web help. It would also be very helpful for anyone thinking about doing mobile usability testing - he covers the issues and challenges with that.
I really like the updated examples in this edition - they are great. Generally I felt like I had learned most, not all, of the information from the first book and that class in grad school. However, I by no means remember to use all the principles so it was great to review and think about things I need to change on my own website and for the sites I'm in the process of making now for others.
The mobile chapter was really what I was eager to see to learn some new things. I wanted an easy answer like "responsive is the way to go!" - and, understandably, that's not what's there since its about tradeoffs and not black and white (darn it!). But Krug did really raise my awareness of mobile design choices. For example, being conscious about the use of flat design and not just doing it because it is trendy, making sure buttons are still clear, etc. He hits on affordances/visual signals. Terrific mobile examples as well.
I wanted more on mobile, but I understand technology is in flux right now so we'll have to see how it all plays out. Krug does make some comments about the mobile first movement and responsive design.
(Hey Steve Krug, maybe you could write an entire book just about mobile usability? I'd buy it!)
The footnotes made me laugh or smile. I like the personal nature they give the book. Also the photos, tables, cartoons, and illustrations break up the text and make it more manageable. I like that I can pick up the book, flip to a page and read a chunk of info that I may be able to use immediately - like the advice around breadcrumbs.
I particularly liked Chapter 11 "Usability as Common Courtesy."
All in all, I find Krug to be very giving with information and resources. The jimmy rigging of a camera setup for $30 for mobile usability testing is an example.
Krug makes usability accessible for regular folks. This also should make us more responsible for considering users when making websites.
I know the websites I make will be better because I read this book.
Steve Krug is back with 3rd edition of "Don't Make Me Think", a bit different web design book than readers are used to find on the market.
It all starts with the misleading title because after reading it you will certainly spend some time thinking about ideas presented inside, about quality improve quality of web site you already have or creating a new one using numerous tips author provided.
For the most part this book is actually more a presentation and a picture book than the usual design book but it's great because using pictures and examples of what is good and what is not the author is sending best messages.
Therefore, you can be sure that after reading/viewing it you'll have at least several new ideas how to improve usability of your website understanding your user better - what they like and what they don't and how the regular user is browsing through the Internet.
Web usability is feature about many web designers don't think enough or not at all resulting in websites that are maybe nice or full of information but unusable.
Although his previous edition was published almost 8 years ago, it was still the recommended read for any web designer or enthusiast, to learn some useful tricks and get some tips for making or upgrading good website.
But as author said the world and Internet have changed a lot, due to the technology rapid development, the web itself kept improving and usability became mandate, not an advantage. But most importantly his previous edition felt dated.
Therefore Krug went throughout the book, updated all the information, deleted what belongs to the past and added three completely new chapters - Big Bang Theory of Web Design, Mobile: It’s Not Just a City in Alabama and Guide for the Perplexed: Making usability happen when you live. The obtained result not only justifies a new edition, but certainly would become the new standard for the next few years in terms of web usability.
The book starts with introducing of several guiding principles, followed by design patterns and tools that would be helpful for improving website efficiency. Throughout the book the author still insists on usability testing and book excels on this field due to many examples that are illustrating where and how the actual websites were enhanced.
Steve Krug insists on simplicity and his advices are clear as soon as you read them such as “…It should be very clear what is clickable” or “…get rid of half the words, then get rid of half of what's left”, or his famous "Trunk test" - if you've been blindfolded and locked in a car trunk, you should be able to answer several questions about a site immediately when your blindfold is removed.
Using numerous examples with existing websites author is going beyond just design issues, discussing other elements needed to make a usable and pleasant site for browsing.
So if you've previously read this fantastic manual purchase of new edition can be definitely recommend due to useful and numerous updates, and if didn’t you can be sure that this is one of the top five books on web design topic that you will ever read. In addition to being endlessly informative, thanks to the charm of the author it's also funny and easy to read that makes you read it from cover to cover.
on January 29, 2014
Yes, all of his interface design comments are fairly well known and understood. You could probably come up with them if you had a lot of time and reviewed many good (and bad) websites for examples. But why go through that effort? King organizes all of the important elements of web design and clearly discusses them. The examples are excellent and his writing style is straightforward and easy to read. The book is great as a refresher for experienced designers as well as novices. Highly recommended!
on March 8, 2014
I don't think it's going too far to say that the most important issue in website design is usability. And here, my friends, is the bible of usability. Krug is wise, clear, persuasive, and funny. His years of work in the field are apparent throughout. His humanity is a nice bonus. He correctly asserts that a well-designed website is a gesture of kindness as well as a commercial plus.
I was in the advertising business for 30 years, and was something of a direct-response expert, so I was confident that I could design an effective landing page. Have you read Dunning and Kruger's "Unskilled and Unaware of It"?
Unfortunately, I designed my website before reading the book. But the day after I finished reading, I started to rework everything. The new site is going to go live in a few weeks. There isn't a single thing I didn't change.
on January 8, 2016
This is arguably the best introduction to Web usability, and much of its philosophy is applicable to design and communication generally. The original edition revolutionized my (and many others') approach to Web development and online PR. This newer edition improves on the original with no loss or faults. I'd like to see an even newer one that covered mobile apps and such, but that would just be icing on the cake. While this is not as in-depth as Nielsen Norman Group usability reports, those are highly focused on very specific matters, are expensive, and are intended for high-pay Web developers with major clients. If you're just getting started, or don't do this for a living, or are the webmaster for a single organization, this book is probably most of what you need for shapening your Web architecture intuition regarding what will effectively communicate and what will not. Note: This is not a technical HTML coding book, it's a user interface and communications psychology book.
on March 7, 2016
Great book for anyone that is maintaining a website for a small business or organization. Not a technical book about writing code. Gives you a clear direction and guidance about how the vast majority of users surf the net and how to make your site easy for the majority of users. Less words, more photos, clear and obvious navigation. Great examples of both real and pretend sites that are good and bad and why they are good or bad.
on November 29, 2015
I am a doctor, a surgeon, so you would say why are you reading “Don’t make me think”. Good question.
Today we all live by the web, through smart phones and PCs, apps and websites, not to mention social networks that I personally have not yet discovered. The web and its usability is part of our common language, a new alphabet, grammar and syntax we have had to learn to live in our world and get along in our profession and free time. But if you met a person who was only able to speak and not read and write you would say he is an analphabet, the same is not true for a user of the web from whom no one expects she/he be able of composing or better designing a website or an app.
Presently, many domain professionals are willing to designing web content necessary for their specific necessities, but not yet able to do it by themselves and look for “primers” or “how to..” books to help them start or go pro in this activity.
“Don’t make met think” is I believe one of the basic books to learn from. Not only it is easy to read and very clear, but it is also funny, entertaining, full of useful information and at the same time systematic and complete.
Steven Krug is evidently a guru of web usability and he has reached the 3rd edition of his book that has filled the minds and hearts of thousands of computer people. It has been and is so popular I believe because it gets to the point of how to think before starting to design. In some ways it is almost a psychology text or better it uses a practical psychological approach to give simple directives to follow in order to keep on the right tract while carrying out design. It sidetracks into information on attention, the use of time, expert remarks on design and interfaces and also on how people actually think. A whole chapter is focused on ethics of web design: a web site should be a “mensche” or as we would say in Italian “un uomo d’onore”, a man of honor, and another on mobile applications with all their space related problems.
So, if you are a information technology specialist or if you are an amateur wanting to learn how to design an app or a website, this book is a good point to start from. Read it, love it and treasure its teachings.
on November 25, 2015
Useful, practical, and filled with golden nuggets (laws and maxims). I should have read this book first...
I have been searching for a go-to book for questioning and validating various usability conventions. Steve get's to the point in the most concise way. IMHO, there is no fluff in this book just golden nuggets of information. I have post-it notes of the laws and maxims in this book which I will be adding to my company's internal UX guide. Thanks, Steve!
on November 25, 2015
You know when you hear a presentation or read a book on something and think, "I inherently knew this stuff, but I just needed someone to tell it to me the right way to help it make sense" ? Don't Make Me Think is one of those books.
I'm not an avid reader, but I really enjoyed Don't Make Me Think from cover to cover (or tap to tap on my Kindle). I've worked in product management, content, and UX for years and think this book is a great resource for anyone who wants to learn the basics or have a nice "ahhh that's why" moment regarding the work that they're already doing. While nothing in the book was groundbreaking to me, I'd highly recommend it to anyone who's getting started working on Internet products or college students who think that they want to pursue a career working in online media/apps.
No surprise, Krug's writing style is simple and approachable. Unlike a boring text book, Krug makes the book really fun with helpful (yet obvious) examples that bring some concepts to life. It does a great job of communicating things that people think they know. There's a reason why so many people recommend this book!