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Rocket Surgery Made Easy: The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Finding and Fixing Usability Problems [Paperback]

Steve Krug
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Dec 8 2009 0321657292 978-0321657299 1
It's been known for years that usability testing can dramatically improve products. But with a typical price tag of $5,000 to $10,000 for a usability consultant to conduct each round of tests, it rarely happens.

In this how-to companion to Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability, Steve Krug spells out a streamlined approach to usability testing that anyone can easily apply to their own Web site, application, or other product. (As he said in Don't Make Me Think, "It's not rocket surgery".)

Using practical advice, plenty of illustrations, and his trademark humor, Steve explains how to:
  • Test any design, from a sketch on a napkin to a fully-functioning Web site or application
  • Keep your focus on finding the most important problems (because no one has the time or resources to fix them all)
  • Fix the problems that you find, using his "The least you can do" approach
By paring the process of testing and fixing products down to its essentials ("A morning a month, that's all we ask"), Rocket Surgery makes it realistic for teams to test early and often, catching problems while it's still easy to fix them. Rocket Surgery Made Easy adds demonstration videos to the proven mix of clear writing, before-and-after examples, witty illustrations, and practical advice that made Don't Make Me Think so popular.

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Frequently Bought Together

Rocket Surgery Made Easy: The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Finding and Fixing Usability Problems + Don't Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability (3rd Edition) + 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People
Price For All Three: CDN$ 78.99

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Product Description

From the Back Cover

It's been known for years that usability testing can dramatically improve products. But with a typical price tag of $5,000 to $10,000 for a usability consultant to conduct each round of tests, it rarely happens.

In this how-to companion toDon't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability, Steve Krug spells out an approach to usability testing that anyone can easily apply to their own web site, application, or other product. (As he said inDon't Make Me Think, "It's not rocket surgery".)

In this new book, Steve explains how to:
  • Test any design, from a sketch on a napkin to a fully-functioning web site or application
  • Keep your focus on finding the most important problems (because no one has the time or resources to fix them all)
  • Fix the problems that you find, using his "The least you can do" approach
By paring the process of testing and fixing products down to its essentials (A morning a month, that's all we ask ),Rocket Surgerymakes it realistic for teams to test early and often, catching problems while it's still easy to fix them.Rocket Surgery Made Easyadds demonstration videos to the proven mix of clear writing, before-and-after examples, witty illustrations, and practical advice that madeDon't Make Me Thinkso popular.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Steve Krug does it again March 2 2010
Format:Paperback
As a professional in the field of User Experience design and web, Steve Krug's book Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability has been the one that I most refer to colleagues so they can get some idea of what usability and UX professionals do.

This book applies the same engaging style, entertaining illustrations, and clear approach to describing techniques for usability testing that almost anybody can undertake for their projects. It's particularly helpful if you make your living designing web sites, but are never given time or budget to 'properly' user-test them.

Krug provides straightforward strategies for testing all stages of a design project, from the back of a napkin to wireframe to finished project. Each of the sections provides just enough guidance to get started but not so much that you get bogged down in details. Once you're started, you can go on to get serious with books like Handbook of Usability Testing: Howto Plan, Design, and Conduct Effective Tests
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great book! June 9 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Arrived on time - perfect condition

Excellent book to read if you're someone who needs to brush up on usability requirements for your projects. Has many great points and presented in a manner that won't cause you to fall asleep.
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Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Very helpful to anyone who is undertaking a website maintenance assignment.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  65 reviews
39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational May 17 2010
By atmj - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
BOUGHT THIS BOOK THE MINUTE I REALIZED IT WAS OUT:
Having been a "Usability Professional" for a number of years, I purchased this Steve Krug book, the minute I knew he had another book out, without even paying attention to what it was about. This guy is just that good. This enthusiasm was due to his previous book "Don't Make Me Think" which was a great book on how to make more usable web sites. First I was surprised, as initially I had not realized it was a book for User testing for non-Usability professionals... Next, I thought, Wow, this is a great book too.

BASIC IDEA:
The whole idea is to do quick usability tests with a few users, that are reasonably representative of your end users. This test would be viewed by your stake holders and be done in one morning each month during various stages of development of your site. This way, it gets to the right people when it's needed. Anyone who does usability work, knows how laborious and costly tests can be. However that's nothing compared to the sales pitch that has to be done, to get even the high impact issues fixed. There are always excuses.

This Books Suggestion for Testing:
* Lessens the cost of the text
* Allows the testing to be more immediate
* Gets the decision makers in front of it and hopefully behind the necessary changes with funding.

This book has clearly defined steps on how to do this:
* Software recommendations
* Some scripts
* How to recruit
* How to run single morning tests.

Also recommendations for approaching changes:
* Get to the basic issues
* Get them fixed
* Let the trivia wait.
* Tweaking is better than a redesign, and it is more likely to happen.

However read the book on this, I'm only quickly paraphrasing.

QUICK SUMMARY:
As before his style of writing is conversational and sparse, giving you what you need to know when. It is laid out in a way that is brief but complete and very easy to read. Hmmm, sounds like he took his own teachings to heart. There are 16 chapters (and you can see inside the book here; so go look) He covers the why and how you can do a usability test on any site and get buy-in from your team when changes need to be made. Usability professionals can benefit from this book as well, as it has a somewhat interesting take on how to get Users in front of the Teams that make decisions on what gets changed. Since time is at a premium and Usability tests speak for themselves, this is one way, to get the money where it needs to go.

All in all another winner of a book...now I'm waiting for the next one...
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Make Web Designers Think! Jan. 27 2010
By Hendericus Onsman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Steve Krug is the author of the bestselling book Don't Make Me Think!, which has racked up worldwide sales of 250,000 since its publication in 2000.

That book based its approach to assessing and improving the usability of websites on the injunction in the title. If visitors to websites have to figure out what to do on a website, then the website is operating at a disadvantage.

Krug offered some very pertinent, uncomplicated advice on web usability, how to judge it and how to implement solutions to problems that are identified.

When updating that first book in 2005, Krug decided that Rocket Surgery Made Easy had become necessary: a handbook for putting usability principles into practice, focusing in particular on user testing.

The title refers to the phrase Krug coined (and trademarked) to summarise his view that all of this is just common sense: it's not rocket science and it's not brain surgery.

It also gives a clue that Krug, while determinedly practical and grounded in the day-to-day business of designing and building websites for paying clients, approaches the subject with considerable humour and playfulness. It's apparent that this is partly out of a concern that usability might be a dry subject for some, but also because Krug is a very funny guy. I think we'd enjoy his workshops, if he ever brings them to Australia.

Rocket Surgery Made Easy is itself easy reading. Less than 160 pages, it is well laid out, charmingly illustrated by Mark Matcho and very, very well edited - big hat-tip to the people at New Riders.

The basis of the book is that it offers how-to advice on actually running user testing sessions. Krug is well aware that many designers and developers cannot afford the expansive, expensive and time-consuming approach to user testing that requires hiring rooms with two way mirrors and video equipment to observe and record user actions as they test a website under controlled conditions, so he has devised a budget approach based around the catchphrase of "A morning a month, that's all we ask". Catchy phrases are an identifiable part of the Krug approach.

Because it's well-written, because Krug is witty, and because the subject material is based so much on common sense, it's easy to whizz through the book. But how much will it change the way a web designer or developer works?

Frankly, while I agree with the need for it, and understand the benefits to be gained, user testing is unlikely to form a significant part of my day-to-day work scenario, at least while I remain a one man design band juggling a roster of new websites and long term clients. The logistical practicalities of even "a morning a month", using three testers without a lot of complicated equipment, are prohibitive. I accept that this may give me and my clients headaches into the future.

However, Krug's books - the first explaining why usability matters, the second explaining how to do it - do give me a platform for addressing usability issues. The way Krug explains stuff allows and encourages me to engage with usability issues. Walking through his approach to user testing tells me a great deal about how I think about usability and how I can improve it. This alone gives me a competitive edge over designers who don't "get" usability

Perhaps both these books should be bundled under the collective title Make Web Designers Think! It's what Krug does extremely well. He raises simple but devastatingly critical usability issues, explores his own way of thinking about them and then offers ways to deal with them.

Krug points out - and emphasises - that anyone can do this. But the fact is that many web designers do not give themselves over to critical thinking, and even when encouraged to do so, may not be sure how to analyse, document and translate their thoughts into design changes.

It is these people that will likely get the most out of Rocket Surgery Made Easy, but they may also be the last designers to actually buy it.

Still if it does anything to get even highly experienced web designers thinking about what they are doing in a critical, insightful and constructive way, it will help to shape a better web.
15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Usability Testing for Dummies May 9 2011
By Eric Jain - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Despite its confusing title, this book has a clear focus: Convince you of the benefits of simple usability tests (the kind where you sit down with a user and watch them perform some tasks), and walk you through that process with just enough detail to make you confident that you, too, can perform such tests without too much effort. The focus of this book is on finding usability problems; there isn't much discussion of specific problems, just the advice to keep the fixes as simple as possible.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Practical and Inspiring Jan. 17 2010
By W. A. Carpenter - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Steve Krug, well known in the web design world for his book "Don't Make me Think! A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability," has achieved success again with "Rocket Surgery Made Easy: The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Finding and Fixing Usability Problems."

This book only takes a few hours to read but contains everything you need to know to test web pages, applications, forms, and anything else you might have designed that could benefit from a good review, which is pretty much everything. He covers the nuts-and-bolts of testing in a very clear, sequential way; he also manages to inspire you to actually do the testing.

This book is well designed, the author's tone is warm and friendly, and he throws in a few great footnotes to entertain you as well. Highly recommended.
17 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Recipe for real-world success Dec 25 2009
By Harry Max - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
When I designed the user experience for the first secure on-line shopping experience at Virtual Vineyards, I lived by a number of principles, two of which were: Quality is an Iterative Process, and The Results of Testing is Information, Not Quality - that demonstrable improvements in design and implementation come from what you choose to do with that information.

Steve Krug's "Rocket Surgery Made Easy" hits the nail on the head (with a hammer) by making usability testing in the real world understandable, practical, and doable by any Web development team. Highly recommended.
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