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

Simple design principles that work

  • Oct 23, 2000
Rating:
+5
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. However, the most important point of the book, namely that there is no such thing as a typical web user, makes this a requirement.
His other point about the necessity for usability testing is one that we all understand. However, the points about getting effective feedback using only a few people is so correct that it will foster disbelief in those who believe that you must spend big to get the best results. Such people ignore the simple rules of statistical sampling. In a population with a great deal of overlapping variation, the random choice of three or four will almost always provide a group covering much of the spectrum. The key to getting effective feedback about a site is not to sample large but to sample well and pay attention to what the subjects say.
All feedback must also be passed through a reality analysis filter as well. There as many shades of like and dislike concerning the style of a web page as there are opinions about economic policy. As the author so effectively points out, a user saying "I like it" can range from, "I like this feature and will not use the site without it" to "I like this feature but will happily use the site if it is not there." The first is of course the most serious, but it also must be exposed to a critical examination before being taken seriously to the point of inclusion.
In summarizing the content of this book, it may appear that I am killing it with faint praise when I say that the best way to describe it is that the advice is practical. However, in the emerging art form known as web design, that is as good as it can get.

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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 . 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 …
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Charles Ashbacher ()
Ranked #78
Charlie Ashbacher is a compulsive reader and writer about many subjects. His prime areas of expertise are in mathematics and computers where he has taught every course in the mathematics and computer … 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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