Don't Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability (3rd Edition) (Voices That Matter)

Author: Steve Krug
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by dhzhzjsbevs   2022-06-22
For usability, "don't make me think" is gospel.

For design itself I'm just not that way inclined and use existing frameworks instead.

by Jaruzel   2020-08-05
When I was first getting in web design (mainly for fun, but also a bit of profit), I read 'Don't Make Me Think'[1] it really helped me understand the difference between good and bad web usability design.



(Non-affiliate link. I'm just recommending a book I found helpful...)

by skapadia   2020-05-16
Ben - thanks for sharing what you learned.

I highly recommend reading "Don't Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability". It doesn't take long to read but is packed with wisdom. It covers the points that Ben makes in his blog post.

by too_much_to_do   2019-08-24

Great points. I remember reading "Don't Make Me Think" when I was in school and it was invaluable to me when doing user testing. It's focused on web UI etc but I think the lessons carry over.

by jacob_the_snacob   2019-08-24

> Great book for anyone that is maintaining a website for a small business or organization. Not a technical book about writing code. Gives you a clear direction and guidance about how the vast majority of users surf the net, and how to make your site easy for the majority of users. Less words, more photos, clear and obvious navigation. Great examples of both real and pretend sites that are good and bad, and why they are good or bad. -- William Sauber

by AlSweigart   2019-08-24

Focus on UI design.

A lot of people tend to think of programming as very math-heavy (it's not, unless the domain you're writing software for is weather simulations or something that itself requires math). So we end up thinking the technical side is important and the "soft skills" are unimportant (or at least, not worth including in our study time).

I'm old enough now where I still like programming, but I've realized I don't care about code; I care about making software that people actually use and find useful. Building a tesla coil in your garage is cool, but so what tons of geeks have done that. I want to make something useful, and it doesn't matter how elegant your algorithms are if your program is confusing, unusable, or solves the wrong problem.

I'd recommend these books, in roughly this order:

  • Don't Make Me Think

  • User Interface Design for Programmers

  • The Design of Everyday Things

But to answer your question: personally, I'd do math. I'm so busy that I don't have time to just sit and study math for fun very often, so it'd have been nice if I did that more when I was younger. (But maybe if I did, I'd be saying programming right now.)

by abd1tus   2019-07-21

Some resources to look into:

  • Good UI
  • Material Design
  • Material UI
  • Bootstrap
  • Don't Make Me Think Revisited

To get started quickly and especially in the absence of a style guide, don't try to come up with with novel designs on your own at first. Look at existing resources available and use them as a starting point. A good exercise would be to go to the the material ui or bootstrap site and put together some pages using thier existing components (especially paper, cards, and nav bars) and blend together their examples.

by SquareBottle   2019-07-21

Thanks for responding and for listening to my feature requests!

For #2, what I mean is going from this:

> [Link to AoN] [Feat name] [Toggle to show and hide the feat tree]

to this:

> [Toggle] [Link] [Feat name]

This small change would improve the UX by making it easier and faster for users to explore feat trees.

Currently, the user has to do a mental calculation to find each toggle. Not a demanding task, but a task nonetheless. Moving the toggle to the left will get rid of this, bringing you a step closer to Don't Make Me Think levels of comfort.

It also would dramatically reduce the amount of mouse travel needed to get from one toggle to the next, which is another one of those tiny frustrations that add up (especially for people using trackpads).

And please note that my suggestions aren't meant to fix UX problems so much as improve what's already good. I'm an interaction designer, so just let me know if I can be helpful as such.

by TheSkepticGuy   2019-07-21

It's not just me

by AgentXTree   2019-07-21

Glad my post was helpful. If you're not familiar with the book Don't Make Me Think by Steve Krug, I highly recommend checking it out.

by Ronimo_Koen   2019-07-21

Hey youse! I think the most satisfying and challenging thing to do for me in Swords and Soldiers 2 was working on the interface for both the WiiU and the PC.
When working on the WiiU version I had never really done anything related to UI design but I expressed to our resident UI guy, Olivier, that I was interested in taking a shot at it. Under his wing I learned a ton about what you need to think about when designing a UI for a console, how to minmax art assets to have consistency and interesting visuals in menus and how when you have something in your head that you see as 'a logical menu' it is always most certainly incredibly wrong and you should have someone test it over and over again. There really isn't something as objectivity when you've worked on something for longer than a day!

For the PC I was really happy that I was able to put a bunch of the previously learned lessons into practice and get a chance to make an in-game UI that was truly what pc players would expect to see when they boot up a videogame instead of having SnS2 look like a port. I looked at an enormous amount of RTS games, using lessons gained from (mostly) StarCraft II (which I personally feel has one of the most intuitive and nice looking designs out there), and tested the initial designs as much as I possibly could to prevent myself from making the same mistakes again. I'm really happy that all of this hard work paid off and that PC players in general appreciate the functionality and the overhaul of the PC interface. I know it's not perfect (nothing ever is), but it was great to see some evolution in my own work!

I have since bought a few UI design oriented books and am reading through them as we speak. For those who are interested (if you have any others feel free to reply and link me!):

Don't make me think: revised edition:

100 things every designer needs to know about people:

100 more things every designer needs to know about people:

by myguysi   2019-05-10
UX is a huge field with a lot of entry points so it’s difficult so suggest a single resource to start with.

However I’d suggest that coming from an engineering background, you might find joy in learning about user testing first as that’s usually a big eye-opener that helps you understand why the field of UX design is important.

A classic book to start with is “Don’t Make Me Think” by Steve Krug[0], which covers usability testing and even how to conduct a session yourself.

Then there’s “The Design of Everyday Things” by Don Norman[1], whom many consider the ‘father’ of the modern field of UX. That one can be a bit dense though.

If you want to think like a designer, then learning about Design Thinking[2] is a good place to start.

Hope that helps!




by nomowo   2018-11-10

Interning/Working for Free is a great way to build your portfolio. Make a case study from your experiences/projects. Write down your findings as you go through the design process.

I am fairly new to the industry (still looking for a job actually), but here is an example of a case study

I would also educate yourself with Vector Graphics editors like Sketch or Adobe Illustrator. These are crucial to design.

Read The Design of Everday Things & Don't Make Me Think

Also look for UX Meetups and Conferences in your area.

by jkbrock   2018-11-10

I really think you're getting it!

>In terms of actually learning the design process, I think I have a vague understanding of a “top level” overview of how this works and ultimately comes together, however I fully appreciate I would need this come interview stage. As such, is there some resource which will explain but not take months to understand

Hmmm...I really think this one is going to be a little bit of a speed bump for you. There are some books you could read to get kindofa basic understanding of what's going on but after adjusting your perspective through real-world experience will it really make sense. That said, O'Reilly has some really great books on UX Mapping and theory, but I would start with Steve Krug's "Don't Make Me Think." It's a foundational book for understanding the nature of design and UX.

>Finally, if I were to learn JS, HTML, and CSS, do you think that is enough to land a front end developer role?

Personally, I think that's an excellent start. You should join front-end dev communities in-person and on-line to learn more. The needs of the industry are always shifting. JS/CSS/HTML are the basic foundations of front-end web coding. You may want to learn more about app interface coding: XML for Android and Swift for iOS. /r/Frontend is probably a great place to start meeting folks and finding new books to read.

>I do have now three years of helpdesk analyst so you could argue that is a lot of customer service and understanding user perception, just in a slightly different manner.

Sort of. Learning how to talk to humans and put on a proper "Customer Service" voice will help you tremendously. But don't try to oversell it too much. I started my career in customer service as well, working with the elderly and then with cancer patients. These things have nothing to do with design or development but 6 years of helping frightened people who couldn't help themselves taught me the importance of empathy, humility, and maintaining a healthy respect for the things other people endure.

This is gonna be hard. And there are going to be moments...maybe even weeks...where you can't stop asking yourself why you've done this to yourself and what the hell were you thinking. Don't give up. It may seem impossible, but the world is still becoming more digital and more connected. There are more than 7billion of us and only HALF have any kind of internet access. That number is growing and all of those new users are bring new ideas and new expectations to the internet. You can be there to help build something amazing for thousands of people.


by Mark_at_work   2018-11-10

Start by reading the book "Don't Make Me Think "

by dictum   2018-01-19
Related reading list:

by sarreph   2017-11-03
I think the most important thing is that you are motivated to create a web-app in the first place — this should give you mental leverage to learn how to do UI / UX properly, if you have the time to go down that route.

As someone who started off as a non-designer programmer, I taught myself UI/UX just by practising a lot. The two ways (that in hindsight were the most invaluable) I improved were to:

• Read highly-praised books on design fundamentals... These two literally changed the way I make / look at everything that is graphic design related: 1. The Non-Designers Design Book [1]; 2. Know Your Onions [2]. The third I can recommend is all about making websites / UX and covers everything you need to think about when you're working on a web project: 3. Don't Make Me Think (Revisited) [3]. All three are very well-reviewed and have changed people's lives.

• Copy everything you like the look of. What are your favourite web apps / pages / interfaces? What makes them tick? Try and copy sections that you like to give you a feel for how things should be laid-out. Most crucially, use a vector graphics program (I cannot recommend Affinity Designer enough, not least because it is insanely cheap for what it is), and copy as many icons / vector images as you can. Learn the fundamentals of bezier curves and how almost every piece of graphic artwork is made up of different combinations / layerings of shapes... Forget about fancy effects (e.g. shadows, gradients) at first, and just copy the shapes themselves. This was my biggest revelation and improved my UI ability to that of a professional standard. Once you realise that a fancy padlock icon [4] is just a rounded rectangle with a circle and triangle in it merged together, you'll start being able to recreate neat icons really easily.

If you don't enjoy doing any of the above, then hire a professional designer :) There really are no other 'ways of dealing with it' than doing it yourself or using a service. But trust me, it is well within reach to get yourself to a decent level in just a few months.

[1] - [2] - [3] - [4] -

by milky_donut   2017-08-19

Aside from making things look nice they also have to function well too. Design should go hand-in-hand with user experience. I suggest reading the book Don't Make Me Think to get an understanding of why things are laid out. You can have a nice website but if it doesn't function well your users will opt out in coming back.

Start going to your other favorite websites and find what they have in common and what's different and keep notes that you could back to and reference; you'll start to notice a common theme in layout. There's Behance, Awwwards, Dribbble (though don't take too much away from here), Smashing Magazine, A List Apart, and more.

Learn color theory and typography -- I suggest Thinking with Type . Like another user said: draw inspiration not only from web design, but take inspiration from other sources.