2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Don't Make Me Think: A quick, entertaining, and worthwhile read for Web designers,
This review is from: Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability, 2nd Edition (Paperback)
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.