- Paperback: 195 pages
- Publisher: New Riders Publishing; 1st edition (October 23, 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0789723107
- ISBN-13: 978-0789723109
- Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.4 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 1,115 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #133,771 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Don't Make Me Think! A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability 1st Edition
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Usability design is one of the most important--yet often least attractive--tasks for a Web developer. In Don't Make Me Think, author Steve Krug lightens up the subject with good humor and excellent, to-the-point examples.
The title of the book is its chief personal design premise. All of the tips, techniques, and examples presented revolve around users being able to surf merrily through a well-designed site with minimal cognitive strain. Readers will quickly come to agree with many of the book's assumptions, such as "We don't read pages--we scan them" and "We don't figure out how things work--we muddle through." Coming to grips with such hard facts sets the stage for Web design that then produces topnotch sites.
Using an attractive mix of full-color screen shots, cute cartoons and diagrams, and informative sidebars, the book keeps your attention and drives home some crucial points. Much of the content is devoted to proper use of conventions and content layout, and the "before and after" examples are superb. Topics such as the wise use of rollovers and usability testing are covered using a consistently practical approach.
This is the type of book you can blow through in a couple of evenings. But despite its conciseness, it will give you an expert's ability to judge Web design. You'll never form a first impression of a site in the same way again. --Stephen W. Plain
- User patterns
- Designing for scanning
- Wise use of copy
- Navigation design
- Home page layout
- Usability testing
From the Author
Even if every Web site could afford a usability expert (which they can't), there just aren't enough of us to go around. So I tried to boil down what I've learned over the years (principles like "Don't make me think" and "Get rid of half the words on each page, then get rid of half of what's left") into a short, profusely illustrated book--one that even the guy who signs the checks (the one who looks at the site when it's ready to launch and says "I hate green. And there should be more big pictures.") might read.
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Over the years I have found myself frequently pushing the concepts with traditional application developers - because they definitely translate.
Lately I've realized that the usability expectations for all applications are set by the web and mobile application experiences because they dominate people's computer experiences now.
Web / mobile started out with the necessity of keeping things simple and concise due to API and device size limitations.
I think these constraints inadvertently has caused developers to stumble on the truth that has been there all along - technical people (I'm one) tend to make applications overly complex.
The same principle applies equally to applications as it does to websites and mobile - given two alternatives for the same basic work - the one that provides the least cognitive friction to "finding your way around" will always win. In training we call this "Cognitive Load Management"
As I type this review, I notice that a 3rd edition is available for pre-order. I will be checking that out, for sure.
Almost all of us have gone to a website that's hard to use or bought a product that required serious thinking to figure out how to use it. Krug uses plain language to describe how to make things easy to use, which makes life a lot easier for product users.
This book gives great examples of the dos and don’ts of web design. It provides great insight in a short amount of pages as to how you can make your website worth viewing.
I bought this book because I was working on a related problem for a consulting firm -- how to integrate research and documentation of said research. The insights from this book into how people use a computer-based system allowed me to identify what was wrong with all of the proposed solutions -- such as software designed to handle references, like EndNote. The proposed solutions were too complex, requiring too much new learning and too many steps.
In the end we saved thousands of dollars by developing a very simple set of rules for putting together an excel spreadsheet for gathering and sourcing qualitative information -- easy to open, easy to operate, everyone already knows how to use the software.
The book was most useful because I was able to wave it in the air and announce "people won't use that feature" as we discussed different options. It was an antidote to the common tendency to feel that our co-workers "aught" or "should" do their work in a particular fashion. E.g. "Since documentation is important, people should be willing to spend some time doing it."
The information was well organized in easy to digest sections. The book is short enough to keep your attention, but packed with helpful information from basic principles to designing for accessibility. Krug includes practical, real-life examples along with visual side-by-side comparisons to demonstrate his guidelines.
I would recommend this book for any level of web designer/developer and anyone involved with a website (whether you fund, build, design, write for, market or even use a website). The principles discussed in the book can be translated to other forms of communication as well, so it would be helpful for anyone in a communications position. This book will be staying within reach at work as it is one that I will reference again and again.