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Don't Make Me Think! A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability [Paperback]

Steve Krug
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (222 customer reviews)

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There is a newer edition of this item:
Don't Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability (3rd Edition) Don't Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability (3rd Edition) 5.0 out of 5 stars (2)
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Book Description

Oct. 13 2000 0789723107 978-0789723109 1

People won't use your web site if they can't find their way around it. Whether you call it usability, ease-of-use, or just good design, companies staking their fortunes and their futures on their Web sites are starting to recognize that it's a bottom-line issue. In Don't Make Me Think, usability expert Steve Krug distills his years of experience and observation into clear, practical--and often amusing--common sense advice for the people in the trenches (the designers, programmers, writers, editors, and Webmasters), the people who tell them what to do (project managers, business planners, and marketing people), and even the people who sign the checks.

Krug's clearly explained, easily absorbed principles will help you sleep better at night knowing that all the hard work going into your site is producing something that people will actually want to use.


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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

Most helpful customer reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Worth Reading But Has Serious Flaws Oct. 31 2002
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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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Introduction to Web Usability June 23 2004
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 Amazon.com'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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5.0 out of 5 stars eye openning Jan. 13 2013
By Vedge
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This was the first book I read about ux and it made me become a UX designer! It's that good
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Required Reading July 5 2004
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Only for Beginners - Light on Substance Dec 29 2000
By A Customer
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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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Web designers
Geez, I wish every web designer would read this book. Most websites are just terrible. It's true, who wants to think when they just want to find information or use a website. Read more
Published on Feb. 14 2005
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't design your website without this book!
This book is a definite MUST HAVE for any website designer, newbie to web design and anyone and everyone who has an online business. Read more
Published on June 22 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars The Last Word on Web Usability. Period.
Some products are hard to improve upon. For example, I believe cars will have 4 wheels for centuries to come despite the fact that it is possible to produce cars with 3 or 5... Read more
Published on June 16 2004 by mr_goodwill
5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST-HAVE for any online business!!!
This book is one of the most magnificently written books I've ever read. It's written in such an easy to understand way, and in simple terms so that EVERYONE can understand it! Read more
Published on June 13 2004 by Andrya L. Feinberg
5.0 out of 5 stars Ingeniously Obvious
I have been either programming or designing functionality for websites for almost 10 years. This book was the wake up call I needed. Read more
Published on May 20 2004 by Mike
5.0 out of 5 stars Simple & worth to collect!
I'll make it simple, like this book's title :)
1. GREAT BOOK! Worth to collect if you're someone involved in web design
2. Read more
Published on May 3 2004 by Monika
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy Reading for a tight time scale
I loved this book, it was simple to read, funny, and informative. Not only have I used it for my University degree, I've used the principles in my work too! Read more
Published on April 16 2004 by Kiera Scott
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book!
If you are just starting out on web usability - this book is a great jumpstart.
If you are only planning to buy one book on web usability, and don't know which one to get -... Read more
Published on April 8 2004 by Michael Lugassy
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Well written: concise and to the point. A quick--yet highly informative--read.
Published on April 5 2004 by Michael Liu
5.0 out of 5 stars Happy talk must DIE!
I work for a small business that constantly redesigns our websites because management, marketing and development can't decide on a single aspect of our website. Read more
Published on March 15 2004 by TwoNiner
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