Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability, 2nd Edition 2nd Edition
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About the Author
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The author is a consultant making his living evaluating others' web sites. He approaches evaluation from the standpoint of the user seeking to fulfill user needs. The quintessential marketing approach.
The book steps us thru the mindset needed to focus, foremost, on the user's experience and the user's goals in accessing a web site. The title of the book refers understanding users' well enough so that a web site is written to be essentially self-evident -- thus avoiding forcing to THINK about what the web site wants or expects. What is expected is just...obvious.
He steps thru many of the means that web sites use to provide such an experience, focusing heavily on effective site design & navigation. He also strongly recommend reducing verbiage by 75% as a rule.
All in all, I found his focus on the user & his attention to a site's navigational structure to be very useful. Thru his experience, he is able to provide both positive & negative examples of these and other points thruout the book.
This is one author that I sense I trust his judgment and enjoy his writing style. As one measure of that, I've already purchased a few of the books he highly recommended in his "Recommended Reading" section. Those, too, appear to be excellent books written from the same place with the user in the center.
It's a refreshing reminder of staying focused on the reader.
Steve Krug's book is all about taking a common sense approach to web development, especially usability. He wrote that there's no such thing as an average user, everyone is different. So, as you can imagine, developing great websites that appeal to most people is almost like climbing Mt Everest wearing sneakers. It's a lot harder than it looks.
Mr. Krug has created an easy to read, conversational guide on what usually works in attracting visitors to a website, and to keep them returning. He points out some of the pitfalls, like how everyone wants to get their finger in the pie of the Home page, to the point where it could become bloated and useless.
Heard of 'Street Signs' and 'Breadcrumbs'? You will when you get to the part about making sure visitors know where they are and where they're going on a website. As much as people hate getting lost in a shopping mall, the same is true on the web.
There's also a substantive section on usability testing. How important it is, but also how it's not necessary to go overboard with it as well.
While it doesn't take long to get through this book, which happens to include useful illustrations and cartoons, you do learn a lot of things in this bestseller.
The idea behind usability is simple: Look at a given design and see how accessible it is for users. Anyone can have an opinion on usability and everyone can provide input. All it takes is a clear head and the patience to look at what works (or doesn't) and why. If you use it, you have information about its usability. To get back to the subjects of Computer Science and technology, usability has lately been applied to the world of Web design.
Usability consultant Steve Krug lays out all of the basics about Web usability in his book Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability currently in its second edition, published in 2006 after the first edition sold nearly 100,000 copies.
As far as titles go, there are few that offer as clear a picture of the book's content as this one. Krug's main point throughout his 185-page guide is that good Web sites don't make users think. Unlike college, Krug posits that using a conventional website should not be an intellectual exercise. It should be simple, it should be neat, and it should be self-evident. In other words, if a user cannot identify the site's purpose, and where to start on said site, just by viewing the homepage something has gone horribly wrong.
Krug details how to fix such problems and how to avoid them with usability tests. That may sound self-serving save for the fact that Krug also explains how to conduct usability tests on the cheap without the benefit of a usability consultant such as himself.
Written in short chapters packed with illustrations, this book is designed to be approachable and easy to read. Krug is serious about Web usability, but that in no way means his book is stodgy or dry. Examples of usability at work are littered with cartoons and the text maintains a sense of humor. My favorite chapter title (and subtitle) "Usability as common courtesy: Why your Web site should be a mensch" might offer some idea of what tone to expect from this book.
Of course, taking a computer class to meet a core requirement in college doesn't always lead to work in the field of Web design in fact most of the time it leads to an entirely different career. But, in today's technology-driven culture, doesn't everything come back to the Internet eventually?
It might just be working as an intern at an online magazine, or a starting position where duties include entering data into online spreadsheets, or it might just be writing your own blog on a site like WordPress or Blogger. Wherever your path leads, knowing something about Web usability and how good Web sites get that way can only help. As more and more information moves to cyberspace, with websites being created and updated all the time, it's important to be prepared by knowing how to analyze not only the information found online but also how it is presented. Don't Make Me Think is one tool that can assist Web users in that preparation.
Top international reviews
When it comes to the web, first impressions count. Take Amazons new redesign for 2008. Amazon gets quite a lot of coverage in the book as an example of good design, so it's interesting that they have gone away from their old design, that's been around for about a decade. I don't like the new look, because every time I use it I have to think whereas before it was intuitive. That's the whole point of "dont make me think". You should never have to think about how to use a web site. If you need to use your brain to do something simple, the designer has FAILED.
"Dont make me think" is a quick and easy read. It's quite small at 200 pages. It's often reduced on Amazon so keep an eye out for a bargain.
Highly recommended for all developers, even if you don't often do user interfaces. The advice can be applied to all interfaces and not just the web.
Good points and easy to follow guidance for anyone creating or updating a website.
Went from front to back in less than 3 hours - lots of bright diagrams and examples.
It makes a very simple point - by designing a web user interface that is logical, simple, clear, intuitive, helpful and robust, people will find them easier to use, have fewer problems, will need less documentation/help, will come back, and will have a positive view of you and your products.
It is so full of logic and startling truth, I found myself yelling "yeah!" a few times at what it had to say. To put it another way, if you think that it's focus on the obvious is, well, all too obvious for you to have not already noticed, then think again!
If there is one book I would impore developers to read (no matter what software they develop) it would be this. It should be mandatory reading.
Despite of the old version of the book, this book is amazing. If everybody read it once, sucking powerpoint presentation, unwatchable websites and unusable objects would disappear from earth!
BUT ... is there anyone else who has found their copy of DON'T MAKE ME THINK has fallen apart within a few weeks of moderate daily use? Shouldn't a book like this be built to withstand the regular handling that the content deserves?
Or is just that I'm heavy-handed?
As a software engineer, which creates both web and desktop apps, I gained a lot of valuable information.
Even though it's from 2005, I definitely recommend it to anyone.
It's very short (200 relaxed pages), thus just a weekend reading, but very nice.
I would really like a version from 2013 with some updates, but most of the things Krug talks about will never become outdated.
The great thing is you can read this book in one sitting and finish an enlightened usability expert ready to impress your colleagues with your new found knowledge.
I'd recommend anyone who's into web related industries to read this. It definitely helped change the way I think about web design and ensuring simplicity in the design process.
Nice easy read to and well written.
Easy to read. Easy to comprehend. Lots of examples. Hands-on book that will become your reference bible for website design. If you're starting a web based business and could only buy one book - this is it!