- Paperback: 168 pages
- Publisher: New Riders; 1 edition (December 18, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0321657292
- ISBN-13: 978-0321657299
- Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 0.6 x 8.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (97 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #42,292 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Rocket Surgery Made Easy: The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Finding and Fixing Usability Problems 1st Edition
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From the Back Cover
It's been known for years that usability testing can dramatically improve products. But with a typical price tag of $5,000 to $10,000 for a usability consultant to conduct each round of tests, it rarely happens.
In this how-to companion to "Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability," Steve Krug spells out an approach to usability testing that anyone can easily apply to their own web site, application, or other product. (As he said in "Don't Make Me Think," "It's not rocket surgery.")
In this new book, Steve explains how to:
Test any design, from a sketch on a napkin to a fully-functioning web site or applicationKeep your focus on finding the most important problems (because no one has the time or resources to fix them all)Fix the problems that you find, using his "The least you can do" approachBy paring the process of testing and fixing products down to its essentials (A morning a month, that's all we ask ), "Rocket Surgery" makes it realistic for teams to test early and often, catching problems while it's still easy to fix them. "Rocket Surgery Made Easy" adds demonstration videos to the proven mix of clear writing, before-and-after examples, witty illustrations, and practical advice that made "Don't Make Me Think" so popular.
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Top customer reviews
First he convinces you that usability testing is helpful and indispensable, then after having examined the reasons why there are so many resistances to doing it (among which the high cost!), he teaches you a simple way to do it, a methodology and how to reap the results.
One reads through this delightful book, very well illustrated by Mark Matcho, and says “this is common sense”, but as Horace Greeley famously stated “Common sense is very uncommon” and so must be highly treasured.
The basic philosophy is: would you ever buy something that you do not know how to handle? Probably no, but if you have built something you feel is great do you assume that others think it is great as well? Probably yes, but you have to check first. So the process of testing is an essential part of building something useful or at least usable.
Testing has to be made easy and repeatable, so suggestions are do it once a month, preferably on Thursday, recruit your users loosely (anyone can do from your neighbor to your officemate) and then grade them according to relative value, find the errors or bottlenecks, fix them as you can and start again, do it from afar if necessary. Remember always to document, document, document, if you can have a public (the impact of the testing raises) get it also by giving them something good to eat!
After the three hours (approximately) it will take you to read the book, you will not only have an idea of what to do in case you have built a website or an app, but also what you should do with whatever your field of work or play is.
Common sense I said, and a sense of humor, well : “A sense of humor is just common sense dancing” (William James). Read this book and enjoy it, just like its big brother!
Having watched Jakob Nielsen run a usability test on stage at a conference over a decade ago, I had some familiarity with the basics of providing a task and trying to stay out of the way of the test participant. This book is the perfect how-to guide when you're ready to try it yourself. All you need is in the book including scripts for getting participants into the tasks and a great 20-minute example test recording video available at the related website.
To the author's point, there's plenty of work for usability experts who tackle enterprise-level projects and try to move the science forward. The method shared in this book is really helpful for smaller companies and budgets. It gets you the answers you need to make meaningful improvements that benefit users.
Even more straightforward and concise than "Don't Make Me Think" -- as testing your website is a simpler topic than designing your whole website -- the book clearly and smoothly runs through simple steps that anyone can implement to make sure they've tested their website to determin if users will actually use it the way you intended to (or use it at all!). You leave the book knowing you can do this, not just big operations with dedicated Web Development and Marketing staff, and it will only take 1 morning a month to keep your site in good shape.
Krug seems to be a master at finding the sweet spot of dumbing the topic down so everyone can understand it, yet not dumbing down the depth or sophistication of the concepts and the reader's ultimate mastery of the topic. Similarly, he simplifies the steps to act on the topic so anyone can accomplish it, yet still really achieve a true high quality result (not just a dumbed down 2nd best version).
Now if only Krug could come up with a book on weight loss!