Dont Make Me Think Book Review

Introduction to Usability:

“Its a product when design fulfills purpose, but a toy when it only attracts.”

Imagine a website which has so many design elements that you have to think a lot to navigate from page X to page Y; Or a website which is so easy in terms of navigation; but lacks in visual aesthetics and looks boring.

The website should be aesthetically good and pleasing as well as easy to use. Take an example of Google’s home page - Simple plain google logo(where,at times Google Doodles are displayed) ,Links on Top and the main feature in dead center,The Search Bar.You must have also observed that once a user goes to Google’s website,the cursor is focused automatically on the Search Bar.  Google products are so eloquently designed and developed, that a lot of inspiration can be derived not only in terms of Design/Aesthetics  but also in terms of Usability.

Google Website Wireframe

(Google Website Wireframe)

Every Now and then, Facebook innovates its website UI(User Interface) & a lot of my friends who don’t understand the features start showing their exasperation through their status updates.  A lot of usability research(the study of how users use and interact with website) goes behind the scene before implementing any new feature. Yet,there are couple of people who dont get well adjusted to those changes. Also,There are some people who enjoy these new features so much that they insist their friends to use these new features ( A lot of my friends enjoyed Time-line feature of Facebook & insisted me to upgrade my profile) .

Do you like the new Twitter UI? Or you are one of those who hated it?

This book is aimed to make readers understand how users use websites, giving design guidelines for creating easy to use websites.

Dont make Me think Book Cover

Important Points from the Book :

  1. “Dont Make Me think”- First Law Of Usability : A web page should be Self-evident.Obvious and Self-explanatory.
  2. Following image clearly represents that A lot of times we can’t actually predict the way user will be using the website.How users use website
  3. We(as Users)don’t read Web pages, We scan them.
  4. We dont make optimal choices. we satisfice: We don’t choose the best option- but choose the first reasonable option.
  5. We don’t figure out how things work- We rather muddle through.
  6. Create clear visual hierarchy.
  7. Using conventions instead of reinventing the whole wheel every time and confusing users. Although if a designer thinks of reinventing the wheel and creating something out of the box, it should not confuse users.
  8. Categorise pages into clearly defined areas.
  9. Make Buttons, Links and other clickable areas obvious.
  10. Krug’s third law of usability : Get rid of words on each page, then get rid of half of what’s left.
  11. Keep a consistent and clear navigation for your website.
  12. Instead of having argument over a feature or location of feature over a business meeting; its always better to have the feature discussed with Focus groups and perform Usability Testing.
  13. When arriving at a home page, it should take very little effort to answer these questions:
    • What is this?
    • What do they have here?
    • What can I do here?
    • Why should I be here ­– and not somewhere else?

Lastly,This book also introduces the ways we can accomplish Usability testing for small and limited budget projects by doing it ourselves.The book concludes with Accessibility and Steve’s Email response to situations when bad design decisions are forcefully instigated.

Target Audience :

This book is for all those professionals who are directly or indirectly involved in process of creating a website.However, If you are a renounced and well known IA professional, there is a chance that you might know most of the content of the book.

Limitations :

  1. Since It was published way long back (even the 2nd edition was published in 2005), You can’t expect it to contain websites like Nike Better World and other Amazingly HTML5 based websites. So,if you are looking out for a High end Coffee table web inspiration book,This is not the one.
  2. Also the book lacks in content regarding Mobile Applications and Mobile/Tablet Optimised Websites. Even though a lot of principles for usability remains the same,there are some very intense usability and accessibility rules that are different from Desktop Environment; For Instance- use of swipe and other touch gestures in Mobile Devices,Lack of flash support, Responsive Web Design, etc.

Final Conclusions :

This is an excellent introduction to the world of usability,(IA)Information Architecture and Usability Testing.There are some basic ground breaking rules described in the book that will never change no matter what.But if you are Web designer and a developer,you shouldn’t stop at this, this gives you introduction to world of IA and makes your website more usable and pleasurable.

An Email to Steve Krug,The Author

I really love your book.You have made an indispensable book on web usability. It has become the De-facto standard for any web professionals whether designer,or developer to read this and make Web a better Medium.Can you please share us more knowledge about usability;covering some advance usability topics and topics pertaining to Mobile web usability as a sequel to this book?(3rd edition ,May be ?)
Again Thanks for Inspiring :)
Prashant
PS:Loved the way you wrote previous books,Don’t change your style!

[Update Reply from Steve ] 

Prashant…

Thanks for those *very* kind words.

I’ve been spending a lot of time in the last year thinking about how to offer some advice about the Mobile world (since that seems to be where everything is heading). I’m still not sure how it will end up (perhaps, as you suggest, as a 3rd edition). We’ll see. But in the meantime, I really appreciate the encouragment!

Thanks again

Steve

Additional Links

SPID.er Rating: 10/10

Got any views on this book?, please share it via a comment.
Thanks
Prashant

About Prashant

Prashant Sani is a Front End Developer from Mumbai,India, currently working For Yellow Slice.Being a Web Standard's Enthusiast, he is passionate about HTML5,CSS3 and Creative JavaScript.

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