Don’t Make Me Think : A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability (2nd Edition)
by Steve Krug
This book lays out some clearly effective principles of usability that I would surely to look over before tackling interface design. Krug reminds us that ‘ease of use’ is what most often makes or breaks a website. “It’s a fact: People won’t use your web site if they can’t find their way around it.” Here we get proof again, that user experience is the key to any successful type of website.
While some of the stuff may be obvious, (or maybe just obvious to me,) I found his style to be amusing and enjoyable to read. He gives us a reflection of what really goes on in the head of the designer when it comes to the art of designing, and the politics that surround it. His axioms are helpful for any beginners trying to rehaul a horribly designed website, but they don’t help with any complex problems of interaction design. Perhaps Steve Krug will explain those in another book.
While I wouldn’t necessarily refer to the book as a valuable resources for design, I do believe that it is one way to bridge understanding between designers (like myself,) and non-designers. In fact, I came up with this 1-page summary of his book to educate some of my colleagues. Here it is below:
Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug – Some Key Points:
Three facts about real-world web use:
Fact of Life #1: We don’t read pages. We scan them.
Fact of Life #2: We don’t make optimal choices. We satisfice.
Fact of Life #3: We don’t figure out how things work. We muddle through them.
Designing pages for scanning, not reading:
> Create a clear visual hierarchy.
> Take advantage of conventions.
> Break pages up into clearly defined areas.
> Make obvious what is clickable.
> Minimize noise.
> Make choices (w/ wording or graphics) obvious.
> Omit needless words.
> Allow the user to browse or search.
> Always provide a way back home.
> Tell the user what the site contains and where they are.
> Tell the user what their options are and where to begin.
> Name each page prominently and place the name in the right place.
> Provide a “You are here.” indication.
> Use breadcrumb navigation where appropriate and appropriately.
> Use tabs. They are wonderful indicators of space and self-evident.
Acid test for good navigation:
> What site is this? (Site ID)
> What page am I on? (Page name)
> What are the major sections of this site? (Sections)
> What are my options at this level? (Local navigation)
> Where am I in the scheme of things? (“You are here” indicators)
> How can I search?
Designing the home page and why it’s so hard:
> It must accommodate: Site identity and mission, site hierarchy, search, teases and promos, timely content, deals, shortcuts, registration.
> Abstractly it must also: make things users are looking for obvious and expose things that users might be interested in.
> It must establish credibility and trust.
> It must convey the big picture.
Five questions the home page must answer:
> What is this?
> What do they have here?
> What can I do here?
> Why should I be here – and not somewhere else?
> Where do I start?
Tags: user interface, user experience, web design