Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability, 2nd Edition

Author: Steve Krug
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by Rob   2019-07-21

While aimed at web design, Steve Krug's excellent "Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach To Web Usability" features (in the second edition, at least), a great chapter entitled "Usability Testing On 10 Cents A Day", which I think is applicable to a much wider range of platforms.

The chapter specifically deals with usability testing done quick and dirty, in a low-budget (no money and/or no time) environment, and illustrates some of the most important considerations for getting an initial "feel" of the thing.

Some of the points I like in particular are:

  • You don't need to test with a huge number of people (a sentiment also echoed by Jakob Nielsen)
  • A live reaction is worth a lot; if possible, make sure the developers can see the reaction (perhaps using a video camera and a TV; it doesn't need to be an expensive one)
  • Testing a few people early is better than a lot later

Joel Spolsky is known for advocating "hallway usability testing", where you grab a few passing users and ask them to complete some simple task. Partly inspired by the "a few users yield the bulk of the results" philosophy, it's also relatively convenient and inexpensive, and can be done every so often.

by anonymous   2019-07-21

Just too add in my two pence I have found the following two books invaluable when it comes to designing my sites:

Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability by Steve Krug

Yes this is a book about usability but it gives you the a good understanding about where certain elements belong in your page layout. After all whats the point in a great looking site if it difficult to use.

Bulletproof Web Design: Improving Flexibility and Protecting Against Worst-Case Scenarios with XHTML and CSS by Dan Caderholm

This book will give you the tools to create markup and css that not only works but looks great. This is a great book for the should I use divs / tables part of your question.

With the kinds of ideas that I got from the books above I find that making some of the choices about my designs are easier to make. Some of the other answers here are very good and I would reccomend trying a few of the things suggested. The best advice really is to give it a go. Try creating a few designs using different methods and see which works best for you.

by Chris   2019-07-21

A few years ago a colleage of mine working for a large retailer, bouyed up after reading Steven Krug's "Don't Make Me Think" (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dont-Make-Me-Think-Usability/dp/0321344758/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1232460515&sr=8-1 ), decided to try to forge a new role for himself as the company's usability consultant.
He got made redundant instead.

My point is that sometimes pushing for a formal usability process/team can sometimes make you unpopular (depending on the organisation), but if you just make your apps usable, then people love them.

by Bedwyr Humphreys   2019-07-21

Please read Don't make me think

by anonymous   2019-07-21

it's specific to Web UX, but Steve Krug's Don't Make me Think is really interesting (and short, which always helps!). And to be fair, some of it translates to non-web apps too.

As well as giving you advice on the design of the UX, it talks about usability testing, which is something I think a lot more apps should do. (Websites too, but most of them do it already).

by sliderhouserules   2017-08-20

Red text is the default mechanic in UI design to indicate importance (which is why it's used for errors so often).

Asterisks are the default choice for indicating required input.

Avoid flashing, and other garish-looking visual mechanics.

If this extends beyond a one-time inquiry, you should look at reading some good GUI books, like Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability and Designing Web Usability, both seminal books in the field.

by Henrik Paul   2017-08-20

You should get yourself a copy of both Don't Make Me Think and The Non-Designer's Design Book for your base knowledge/insight.

From there, it's much easier for you to dissect and analyze the layouts you already know and like, and recreate them for your own amusement.

edit: To mitigate misunderstanding, the point I'm trying to make is that you probably don't need as many good examples of nice layouts, if you know what to look for. For example, I can be shown a thousand haute couture dresses, and I still couldn't make one myself, because I don't know what to look for.

by David Thomas Garcia   2017-08-20

As Steve Krug recommends in Don't Make Me Think, get rid of the question marks that pop in the user's head when they come to your site. If it is confusing it isn't likely to be helpful.

Although an interesting concept, in this context I think it is more confusing than useful. If I see "answered 18 mins ago" and "answered 17 mins ago" I have a perfect frame of reference. Also this is something I see on many other sites so it does not require me to learn anything new.

On the other hand if I see two comments that contain "5 mins later" and "6 mins later" I don't have a clear frame of reference. The first might be after the original question, but the other? Is it 6 minutes after that previous comment? Or 6 minutes after the original question, thus one minute after the other comment? Finally, this isn't what you typically see on a site so there will be a moment of "huh?" follow by either "wtf?" or "cool!". Not a reaction that should be left to chance.

by zacharyvoase   2017-08-19
I’ve heard very good things about Steve Krug’s ‘Don’t Make Me Think’: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dont-Make-Me-Think-Usability/dp/0321...
by garry   2017-08-19
Some of my favorite resources:

http://www.amazon.com/Dont-Make-Me-Think-Usability/dp/032134...

http://www.edwardtufte.com/tufte/courses

Also make wireframes before you code, when something is complicated -- or when you're starting out, for virtually any UI. Use Omnigraffle Pro, and you can also use Graffletopia's website to find stencils, e.g. Bootstrap Stencils. Or use Easel.io.