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38 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational
BOUGHT THIS BOOK THE MINUTE I REALIZED IT WAS OUT:
Having been a "Usability Professional" for a number of years, I purchased this Steve Krug book, the minute I knew he had another book out, without even paying attention to what it was about. This guy is just that good. This enthusiasm was due to his previous book "Don't Make Me Think" which was a great book on how to...
Published on May 17, 2010 by atmj

versus
14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Usability Testing for Dummies
Despite its confusing title, this book has a clear focus: Convince you of the benefits of simple usability tests (the kind where you sit down with a user and watch them perform some tasks), and walk you through that process with just enough detail to make you confident that you, too, can perform such tests without too much effort. The focus of this book is on finding...
Published on May 9, 2011 by Eric Jain


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38 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational, May 17, 2010
By 
atmj (Rochester, NY USA) - See all my reviews
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BOUGHT THIS BOOK THE MINUTE I REALIZED IT WAS OUT:
Having been a "Usability Professional" for a number of years, I purchased this Steve Krug book, the minute I knew he had another book out, without even paying attention to what it was about. This guy is just that good. This enthusiasm was due to his previous book "Don't Make Me Think" which was a great book on how to make more usable web sites. First I was surprised, as initially I had not realized it was a book for User testing for non-Usability professionals... Next, I thought, Wow, this is a great book too.

BASIC IDEA:
The whole idea is to do quick usability tests with a few users, that are reasonably representative of your end users. This test would be viewed by your stake holders and be done in one morning each month during various stages of development of your site. This way, it gets to the right people when it's needed. Anyone who does usability work, knows how laborious and costly tests can be. However that's nothing compared to the sales pitch that has to be done, to get even the high impact issues fixed. There are always excuses.

This Books Suggestion for Testing:
* Lessens the cost of the text
* Allows the testing to be more immediate
* Gets the decision makers in front of it and hopefully behind the necessary changes with funding.

This book has clearly defined steps on how to do this:
* Software recommendations
* Some scripts
* How to recruit
* How to run single morning tests.

Also recommendations for approaching changes:
* Get to the basic issues
* Get them fixed
* Let the trivia wait.
* Tweaking is better than a redesign, and it is more likely to happen.

However read the book on this, I'm only quickly paraphrasing.

QUICK SUMMARY:
As before his style of writing is conversational and sparse, giving you what you need to know when. It is laid out in a way that is brief but complete and very easy to read. Hmmm, sounds like he took his own teachings to heart. There are 16 chapters (and you can see inside the book here; so go look) He covers the why and how you can do a usability test on any site and get buy-in from your team when changes need to be made. Usability professionals can benefit from this book as well, as it has a somewhat interesting take on how to get Users in front of the Teams that make decisions on what gets changed. Since time is at a premium and Usability tests speak for themselves, this is one way, to get the money where it needs to go.

All in all another winner of a book...now I'm waiting for the next one...
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Make Web Designers Think!, January 27, 2010
By 
Hendericus Onsman "Ricky" (Corrimal, NSW, Australia) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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Steve Krug is the author of the bestselling book Don't Make Me Think!, which has racked up worldwide sales of 250,000 since its publication in 2000.

That book based its approach to assessing and improving the usability of websites on the injunction in the title. If visitors to websites have to figure out what to do on a website, then the website is operating at a disadvantage.

Krug offered some very pertinent, uncomplicated advice on web usability, how to judge it and how to implement solutions to problems that are identified.

When updating that first book in 2005, Krug decided that Rocket Surgery Made Easy had become necessary: a handbook for putting usability principles into practice, focusing in particular on user testing.

The title refers to the phrase Krug coined (and trademarked) to summarise his view that all of this is just common sense: it's not rocket science and it's not brain surgery.

It also gives a clue that Krug, while determinedly practical and grounded in the day-to-day business of designing and building websites for paying clients, approaches the subject with considerable humour and playfulness. It's apparent that this is partly out of a concern that usability might be a dry subject for some, but also because Krug is a very funny guy. I think we'd enjoy his workshops, if he ever brings them to Australia.

Rocket Surgery Made Easy is itself easy reading. Less than 160 pages, it is well laid out, charmingly illustrated by Mark Matcho and very, very well edited - big hat-tip to the people at New Riders.

The basis of the book is that it offers how-to advice on actually running user testing sessions. Krug is well aware that many designers and developers cannot afford the expansive, expensive and time-consuming approach to user testing that requires hiring rooms with two way mirrors and video equipment to observe and record user actions as they test a website under controlled conditions, so he has devised a budget approach based around the catchphrase of "A morning a month, that's all we ask". Catchy phrases are an identifiable part of the Krug approach.

Because it's well-written, because Krug is witty, and because the subject material is based so much on common sense, it's easy to whizz through the book. But how much will it change the way a web designer or developer works?

Frankly, while I agree with the need for it, and understand the benefits to be gained, user testing is unlikely to form a significant part of my day-to-day work scenario, at least while I remain a one man design band juggling a roster of new websites and long term clients. The logistical practicalities of even "a morning a month", using three testers without a lot of complicated equipment, are prohibitive. I accept that this may give me and my clients headaches into the future.

However, Krug's books - the first explaining why usability matters, the second explaining how to do it - do give me a platform for addressing usability issues. The way Krug explains stuff allows and encourages me to engage with usability issues. Walking through his approach to user testing tells me a great deal about how I think about usability and how I can improve it. This alone gives me a competitive edge over designers who don't "get" usability

Perhaps both these books should be bundled under the collective title Make Web Designers Think! It's what Krug does extremely well. He raises simple but devastatingly critical usability issues, explores his own way of thinking about them and then offers ways to deal with them.

Krug points out - and emphasises - that anyone can do this. But the fact is that many web designers do not give themselves over to critical thinking, and even when encouraged to do so, may not be sure how to analyse, document and translate their thoughts into design changes.

It is these people that will likely get the most out of Rocket Surgery Made Easy, but they may also be the last designers to actually buy it.

Still if it does anything to get even highly experienced web designers thinking about what they are doing in a critical, insightful and constructive way, it will help to shape a better web.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Usability Testing for Dummies, May 9, 2011
By 
Eric Jain (Seattle, WA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Despite its confusing title, this book has a clear focus: Convince you of the benefits of simple usability tests (the kind where you sit down with a user and watch them perform some tasks), and walk you through that process with just enough detail to make you confident that you, too, can perform such tests without too much effort. The focus of this book is on finding usability problems; there isn't much discussion of specific problems, just the advice to keep the fixes as simple as possible.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Practical and Inspiring, January 17, 2010
By 
Steve Krug, well known in the web design world for his book "Don't Make me Think! A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability," has achieved success again with "Rocket Surgery Made Easy: The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Finding and Fixing Usability Problems."

This book only takes a few hours to read but contains everything you need to know to test web pages, applications, forms, and anything else you might have designed that could benefit from a good review, which is pretty much everything. He covers the nuts-and-bolts of testing in a very clear, sequential way; he also manages to inspire you to actually do the testing.

This book is well designed, the author's tone is warm and friendly, and he throws in a few great footnotes to entertain you as well. Highly recommended.
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17 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Recipe for real-world success, December 25, 2009
By 
When I designed the user experience for the first secure on-line shopping experience at Virtual Vineyards, I lived by a number of principles, two of which were: Quality is an Iterative Process, and The Results of Testing is Information, Not Quality - that demonstrable improvements in design and implementation come from what you choose to do with that information.

Steve Krug's "Rocket Surgery Made Easy" hits the nail on the head (with a hammer) by making usability testing in the real world understandable, practical, and doable by any Web development team. Highly recommended.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Sorry but too basic to be of value IMO, November 4, 2013
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Catchy title and witty book, but of little value for anyone that develops websites or aps with the end-user in mind. 99.9% of what is discussed you already know--just need to do it. Offers little insight regarding fixing usability issues.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simple things just work, April 27, 2010
By 
Lars Tackmann (Copenhagen, Denmark) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Rocket Surgery Made Easy: The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Finding and Fixing Usability Problems (Voices That Matter) (Kindle Edition)
Incredible and inspring book on how to locate and fix usability problems yourself. Most of the advice centers around web design, but the process described can easily be modified to any other product. The book is delightfully short (under 200 pages), very well written and packed with useful information.

My own startup is following the process outlined in this book and the results are just amazing. Usability skeptics will be immediately converted once they see a test in action. I will be looking forward to the day where this stuff ends up in science curriculums, then we will truly enter a age packed with useful simple things and the clumsy 50 button VCR remote control will be a relic of the past. Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Short, sweet and spot on, April 14, 2010
By 
This is by far the most concise, clear and fun to read usability book you'll ever find. I've been involved in quite a few usability tests, but I always had the nagging feeling that I wasn't doing things "the right way" because I wan't a trained usability engineer. Steve cuts through all the bull and explains how anyone can really bake in usability testing and improve their products. A real joy to read from start to end, packed full of practical details and templates to make sure everything goes smoothly. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good book!, March 24, 2014
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This review is from: Rocket Surgery Made Easy: The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Finding and Fixing Usability Problems (Voices That Matter) (Kindle Edition)
Every web specialist should be required to read this book, from content to design to development! Even though it can be seen as dated, it's a great introduction to web usability and what you can do to begin incorporating it into your work.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good primer for doing "do-it-yourself" usability tests, March 21, 2014
This review is from: Rocket Surgery Made Easy: The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Finding and Fixing Usability Problems (Voices That Matter) (Kindle Edition)
This is the companion book to "Don't make me think," also by Krug.

The author splits up the book into 3 main sections:
1. Finding usability problems
2. Fixing usability problems
3. The road ahead (remote testing,further testing, etc

The author suggests that one of the reasons that people don't do as much usability testing as they should is because when they hear "usability testing" they think of a long, hard, resource intensive process that they don't want to deal with. Krug suggests that spending a simple morning per month can significantly improve your applications. This sort of "do-it-yourself" testing can be done much quicker and much cheaper than the "big honkin' test".

He walks through when what do you test, when do you test, who do you test, and how to set up a test. This involves how to choose tasks, how to choose participants, and an entire chapter dedicated to checklists so you won't forget something, as well as some sample scripts. He also briefly touches on the debriefing session after the tests, and picking which problems to tackle.

The two main mantras the author states are:
1. A morning a month is all we ask (for testing).
2. Recruit loosely, and grade on a curve.

The bottom line: An excellent way to do "do-it-yourself" usability testing for minimal investment. While not in depth or as broad as some other readings or books, this is a way to get started without being intimidated. If you're more advanced and already doing usability testing and would like a better understanding, you may want to look elsewhere.
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