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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability » User review

Excellent Introduction to Web Usability

  • Jun 23, 2004
Rating:
+3
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 we should not. I remember being especially impressed with his in-depth analysis of Amazon.com's navigation scheme (Chapter 6 - "Street Signs and Breadcrumbs"), from the use of tabs to the structure of the sub-navigation to color changes, he covers it all with a sense of humor, clear pictorial examples, a sharp eye for detail, and a clear concise explanation of what works and why. The reader is left with a greater understanding of not only why Amazon has been so successful, but also what choices they made that helped them find this solution.

The chapter on usability testing (Chapter 9 - "Usability Testing on 10 cents a day") was another fine example of clear communication and great ideas. Krug's breakdown of how the usability process should be conducted, and why it's needed in the first place, is concise and not preachy, as some usability authors are, and it really gives the reader an excellent idea of how they can fit usability into their process. This is probably the best way to "sell" usability to someone, and he does a great job of it.

The whole book is like that, really, but those chapters were highlights in the book for me. His ideas on simplicity of presentation and home page design were also well-taken, both as a designer and as someone who uses the web. Perhaps that is what makes his book so excellent, is that really, anyone could get something out of it. Whether it's the person who surfs the web now and again or the one who designs the pages for it or the one who's paying for the person to design pages for it, anyone could read this book and benefit from it, without having to wade through piles of needless verbage or proselytizing.

In the end, "Don't Make Me Think" seems to be an example of what it advises... it keeps things simple and accessible for a wide variety of people, and thereby makes itself useful as an excellent resource. The next time someone asks me what Web usability is all about, this is the first book I'll be recommending to them.

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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 . November 19, 2005
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 …
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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Rich Stoehr ()
Ranked #79
I often hide behind a pithy Douglas Adams quote or maybe some song lyrics. I guess it makes sense that much of what I share is reviews of things I like (or don't).      People … more
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About this book

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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

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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