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Book: Don’t make me think

I had already read some books on usability. The last one had about 400 pages and lots of texts. It laid out 10 (or 12) rules regarding usability. I can’t even remember one !

On the other hand, Steve Krug’s Don’t make me think is still deeply in my mind. Not only the author applied usability to his book (about 200 pages, very easy to read with drawings right to the point), but, even better, what he wrote is enlightening.

First, Steve Krug introduces the « guiding principles », all evolving around his First Law of Usability : Don’t make me think. Simply put, the aim is to remove all questions, even unconscious ones, when browsing the web. All these littles inconveniences or inconsistencies which go in the way must disappear. And Steve Krug presents this with way more skills and drawings than I do, making it really impressive and long lasting.

He goes on speaking on the way we use the web (scanning, not reading), than that we should « Omit needless words ».

These first chapters are still vivid in my mind. They come with very relevant examples that we’ve all seen before, and thus that we’ll see again in the future, bringing back the good stuff of this book.

Then, Steve Krug goes on a more general level : why/how to avoid these endless discussions about « mine design is better than yours », how to do « real size » usability tests (and not the ones requiring huge resources/teams/testers/rooms/… as was put in this previous book!) and how to deal with Pointy-Haired Bosses. Less crazy than the first chapters, but really helpful.

Overall, this book really helped me. I now have quite a tool set (and mindset) to deal with usability questions. To put it shortly, I feel now empowered on this topic, quite a change from my previous readings.

To conclude, if usability is remotely some of your concern (and you don’t know it all already), read this book !


More details on Advance Common Sense.
Review written first on codesmell.

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