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

A usability classic that *needs* to be read by web designers...

  • Apr 30, 2006
Rating:
+5
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 restores my faith in common sense design techniques.

Contents:
Guiding Principles: Don't make me think!; How we really use the Web; Billboard Design 101; Animal, vegetable, or mineral?; Omit needless words
Things You Need To Get Right: Street signs and Breadcrumbs; The first step in recovery is admitting that the Home page is beyond your control
Making Sure You Got Them Right: "The Farmer and the Cowman Should Be Friends"; Usability testing on 10 cents a day
Larger Concerns And Outside Influences: Usability as common courtesy; Accessibility, Cascading Style Sheets; and you; Help! My boss wants me to ______.
Recommended Reading; Acknowledgments; Index

First off, Steve Krug does this web design stuff for a living. So rather than live in the world of theory and stopwatches, he's actually seen and built things that both work and fail. Because of that, his common sense experience shines through in his writing. Couple that with some unique page design and entertaining graphics, and it's hard to not sit through and read the book from end to end in one sitting. In fact, that's *exactly* what he designed the book for! For those of us who have been working on the web for a very long time, it's amazing how much we take for granted and just "assume". But the audience of our site(s) may be far less sophisticated, and the only way to understand usable web design is to see things through fresh eyes. His pragmatic approach to usability testing is refreshing, and is something that you can easily do on any project without having to spend thousands for a full-blown lab. Those findings will drive much of your design and help you to realize what works and what doesn't. And it will probably surprise you what falls into which areas...

This is one of those classic titles on a subject that needs to be read by everyone who makes their living doing web site design. There's absolutely no reason *not* to spend the three or so hours it will take to cover the material. I'm willing to bet it will make a positive impact on your design skills, and your audience will thank you profusely...

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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 . 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 …
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. …
About the reviewer
Thomas Duff ()
Ranked #43
Thomas Duff, aka "Duffbert", is a long-time member of the Lotus community. He's primarily focused on the development side of the Notes/Domino environment, currently working for a large insurance … more
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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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