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Don't Make Me Think! A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability Paperback – Oct 13 2000

4.7 out of 5 stars 222 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: New Riders; 1 edition (Oct. 13 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0789723107
  • ISBN-13: 978-0789723109
  • Product Dimensions: 17.9 x 1.1 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 454 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 222 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #135,785 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Amazon

Usability design is one of the most important though often least attractive tasks for a Web developer. In Don't Make Me Think, author Steve Krug lightens up the subject with good humour and excellent to-the-point examples.

The title of the book is its chief personal design premise. All of the tips, techniques and examples presented within it revolve around users being able to surf merrily through a well-designed site with minimal cognitive strain. Readers will quickly come to agree with many of the book's assumptions. For example, "We don't read pages--we scan them" and, "We don't figure out how things work--we muddle through". Getting to grips with such hard facts sets the stage for Web design that then produces top-notch sites.

Using an attractive mix of full-colour screen shots, cute cartoons and diagrams, and informative sidebars, the book keeps your attention and drives home some crucial points. Much of the content is devoted to proper use of conventions and content layout, and the "before and after" examples are superb. Topics such as the wise use of rollovers and usability testing are covered using a consistently practical approach.

This is the type of book you can blow through in a couple evenings. But despite its conciseness, it will give you an expert's ability to judge Web design. You'll never form a first impression of a site in the same way again. --Stephen W Plain

From the Author

Even if every Web site could afford a usability expert (which they can't), there just aren't enough of us to go around. So I tried to boil down what I've learned over the years (principles like "Don't make me think" and "Get rid of half the words on each page, then get rid of half of what's left") into a short, profusely illustrated book--one that even the guy who signs the checks (the one who looks at the site when it's ready to launch and says "I hate green. And there should be more big pictures.") might read.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
If there's a book to use when introducing someone to the ideas of usability on the Web, I'd have to say that I think this is it. Not Nielsen, and not Cooper (at least not to start with). Steve Krug's "Don't Make Me Think" has the most no-nonsense and easy-to-follow approach I think I've ever seen, and best of all, he makes SENSE.

First of all, Krug deconstructs some of the sites we all know and use often, and he does so to help us see what we should be doing, as well as what we should not. I remember being especially impressed with his in-depth analysis of's navigation scheme (Chapter 6 - "Street Signs and Breadcrumbs"), from the use of tabs to the structure of the sub-navigation to color changes, he covers it all with a sense of humor, clear pictorial examples, a sharp eye for detail, and a clear concise explanation of what works and why. The reader is left with a greater understanding of not only why Amazon has been so successful, but also what choices they made that helped them find this solution.

The chapter on usability testing (Chapter 9 - "Usability Testing on 10 cents a day") was another fine example of clear communication and great ideas. Krug's breakdown of how the usability process should be conducted, and why it's needed in the first place, is concise and not preachy, as some usability authors are, and it really gives the reader an excellent idea of how they can fit usability into their process. This is probably the best way to "sell" usability to someone, and he does a great job of it.

The whole book is like that, really, but those chapters were highlights in the book for me.
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Format: Paperback
Mr. Krug thoughtfully points out usability issues that every web developer should be aware of, and his points are well-considered ones. But there are some serious flaws. To begin with is his definition of "usability" -- usability for whom? Mr. Krug completely ignores web accessibility issues for persons with disabilities. The web-viewing public he is concerned with have no disabilities that make reading pages difficult or impossible, do not use assistive technologies, or do not use old browsers. The author fails to mention that approximately 20% of web surfers have some form of disability, and fails to suggest online or book resources for learning more about this issue. Designing for ALL surfers is not, as he would put it, 'rocket surgery'. Is he really unaware of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines as put forth by the W3C or of section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act? His sections about navigation are absurdly one-sided. Does he truly think that javascripted navigation, or navigation with tabs are universally usable?
Secondly, the author is still stuck in largely tables-based HTML presentation methods. Usability means building a site that works on hand-held and telephonic devices as well as assistive interenet devices. This can be accomplished through XHTML and Cascading Style Sheets. In fact, separating markup from presentation is a large part of what Mr. Krug should be discussing, but doesn't.
Thirdly, Mr. Krug's examples are of large, well-branded sites. That's fine, but his comments and suggestions seem best-suited to those sites, not small business or other small-site needs. This shows in his lack of information about designing pages that will expedite search engine effectiveness.
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Format: Paperback
This book should be required reading for not only web designers, but anyone who owns a website. The book was a bit on the thin side and when I got it I thought it should have been thicker for the money. I was wrong.
This book takes you through every facet of usability and is as applicable to a single person with one site as it is to a multi-level corporation who owns 30 sites. His writing style is fun and humorous and the book is an easy read.
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Format: Paperback
I've been a usability engineer/information architect for 8 years and have read many books on both GUI and web design. I'm sorry to report that this book was disappointing. It took me only a few hours to breeze through and I came away with very little that was new to me and with the perception that this book was light on substance. Perhaps this is because I have been in this field for so long. However, I just finished reading Jeff Johnson's "GUI Bloopers" and, even after designing GUIs for so many years, I learned so much from Jeff's book. If you are new to this field, Krug's book will help but make sure to read "Designing Web Usability" by Nielsen, "Information Architecture for the World Wide Web" by Rosenfeld and Morville, "Designing Large Scale Web Sites" by Sano, and "Web Navigation" by Jennifer Fleming. I also recommend Johnson's book on GUI design. So many GUI Design Principles are directly applicable to good web site design.
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Format: Paperback
Where to begin?
Mr. Krug has a writing style that matches my own: logical, easy to follow, and full of humor. Once I started reading, I simply couldn't put the book down.
This book gives a copious amount of information about the right ways and wrong ways to design a web site. Mr. Krug easily pairs this information with live examples of sites that are online, or intranet sites in which he played a part. Interjected in this valuable information are some of the funniest barbs, observations, and comments I've heard in quite some time.
Most of the concepts in this book are straight common sense. So common, in fact, that we tend to overlook them, and consequently violate the rules. Don't worry, Mr. Krug gently points them out to you with vivid pictures and diagrams, and has you laughing while he does it. He even has a name for his business that ties in to this common sense mentality. Read the book - you'll understand...and smile.
Want to know what billboards and roadsigns in Los Angeles and Boston have to do with web design? Read the book. You'll soon discover yourself critiqing road signs and such in the area of town you live. Department stores will become a library of examples on how to organize and display information. And you'll always, ALWAYS find yourself analyzing web sites that you already frequent, and pointing out what works and what could be improved upon.
One question: are you a scanner or reader? You'll find out once you read this book. And then you'll be amazed at the accuracy of what Mr. Krug has said and what you actually do when you're on the web.
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