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Sequel (2nd ed) lives up to the original

  • Nov 19, 2005
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Rating:
+5
When we design Web sites, we often overlook the simplest things because we're too wrapped up in the design. After working on Web sites for a while, some of us have slowly moved away from what we know is usable to adding or removing elements that may enhance the `look' - and also break a site's usability.

Steer back on track with the new edition of Krug's highly referenced book. Novice, intermediate, expert. No matter where you are on the scale, the book provides value to everyone - even managers, testers and project managers. Management likes to get their hands a little dirty when it comes to Web design projects and sharing this book may make the team's life easier.

Anyone involved with Web design or usability will recognize most, if not all, of the concepts covered in the book. What makes Don't Make Me Think usable is that it's a great checklist to ensure you've covered all the basics.

Krug provides many before and after examples to show how a few changes can enhance a Web site's usability. The illustrations reinforce the concepts covered as well as how visitors use and read a Web site.

As for the differences between the first and second editions, the second addition has three new chapters while usability testing shrinks from two chapters to one and with good reason.

The testing chapter breaks down the testing process into digestible steps; complete with a script between the tester (user) and the person watching the tester. Too often, we've seen testing get mangled or ignored. With this chapter, teams might find themselves empowered and eager to do testing.

The chapter on "Usability as common courtesy" explores how a site can make or break the "reservoir of goodwill" as Krug puts it. We arrive at a Web site with some goodwill and depending on how well the site meets or misses our needs; the goodwill level goes up or down. It may only take one mistake to propel visitors to flee.

Another new and short chapter is "Accessibility, Cascading Style Sheets and you." Krug captures what developers and designers hear when it comes to accessibility and addresses what they fear. He lists five things designers and developers can do make a site accessible without a lot of effort.

Finally, the book closes with "Help! My boss wants me to..." Krug has received plenty emails and questions on the topic to identify two questions that repeatedly come up. He provides email examples for free re-use, so no one has to explain it to the boss.

It only takes about two hours or a plane trip to read. The writing is conversational, clear and packs a punch with a dash of humor thrown in. Reading the book is not much different than reading fiction because it flows well and the information sinks in without much effort.

If you get this book and have the 1st edition, I recommend keeping both. You might find helpful stuff in the original material not found in the new edition.

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More Don't Make Me Think: A Common ... reviews
review by . February 05, 2007
If you want to design quality websites and haven't read this book you are doing your visitors a disservice. It's that simple. Don't Make Me Think is well written, well structured, easy to read and short. It covers usability the way we should design sites, with a just enough content, easily digested and quick to consume. You could get the same content elsewhere but it would be a lot more work and a lot more poorly written. 11 stars.
review by . April 30, 2006
If I read a book on web design or web usability, the thing that will turn me off the quickest is the dogmatic rantings of a self-proclaimed "expert" on the subject. It's far too easy to call one's preferences "best practices" and think that everyone needs to conform to them. Hate it, hate it, hate it! So why did I pick up and read Don't Make Me Think : A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability (2nd Edition) by Steve Krug? Because it's one of those usability books that actually clicks with me and …
review by . June 23, 2004
If there's a book to use when introducing someone to the ideas of usability on the Web, I'd have to say that I think this is it. Not Nielsen, and not Cooper (at least not to start with). Steve Krug's "Don't Make Me Think" has the most no-nonsense and easy-to-follow approach I think I've ever seen, and best of all, he makes SENSE.     First of all, Krug deconstructs some of the sites we all know and use often, and he does so to help us see what we should be doing, as well as what …
review by . October 23, 2000
Ordinarily, I avoid using the phrase "common sense", considering it to be one of those generalities used when you are unable or unwilling to categorize an algorithm. However, in this case, it applies and is the only phrase that can be accurately used to describe web design techniques. The author is refreshing, in that he avoids any hint of passion in the explanations of what is right and wrong about web design. Taken by itself, his "what you use depends on the situation" approach appears to be wishy-washy. …
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Meryl K Evans ()
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About this book

Wiki

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

Topics covered:

  • User patterns
  • Designing for ...
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Details

ISBN-10: 0321344758
ISBN-13: 978-0321344755
Author: Steve Krug
Genre: Computers & Internet
Publisher: New Riders Press
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