A must-read – “Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability, 2nd Edition.”Steve Bradley
Steve Krug’s book “Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability, 2nd Edition,” is widely regarded within the web design community as a usability bible for the layperson. In his concise guide, Krug demystifies web usability for both newcomers and experienced individuals.
Having designed websites for nearly three decades, I often revisit his work to make sure new projects remain true to our client’s goals. Countless web designers and developers have turned to the expertise of web usability authority Steve Krug, using his guide to grasp the foundations of intuitive navigation and effective information design. With a blend of wit, common sense, and remarkable practicality, this book stands as a cherished favourite and a frequently endorsed resource in the field.
If you haven’t heard of it, I strongly recommend obtaining a copy of the book. Or, if you’re on the go, the Kindle version. It’s a must-read for understanding the basics of user flow. Users follow their intuition – they don’t want new windows popping up unexpectedly, and they want to be able to get back to the home page quickly – and it’s this that Steve Krug looks at in detail.
If you’re still unconvinced, I’ve listed some key points he makes early on. There’s a lot more to delve into, but it may help give you an idea of what to expect.
Usability Defined: Usability equates to ensuring seamless functionality, where an individual with average skills or experience can employ it for its intended purpose without frustration.
Clarity in Web Applications: Ideally, when a webpage is viewed, its purpose and function should be readily apparent – a self-evident and self-explanatory interface.
Simplicity Rules: People prefer straightforward interactions. Failing to present information clearly erodes the site’s and its creators’ confidence.
Respecting Time: Much of our web behaviour stems from the desire to save time. Consequently, users tend to navigate swiftly, akin to sharks in perpetual motion.
Back Button Attachment: The back button is a user’s lifeline; clicking it is the most common action. Mistakes incur minimal consequences, making users comfortable with exploration.
Creatures of Habit: Humans embrace routines. Once a functional method is discovered, it’s adhered to, limiting the search for improvements.
Cutting Happy Talk: Avoid unnecessary content; users prioritize substance over pleasantries. Minimizing “happy talk” keeps interactions focused and efficient.
Retaining Search Focus: Some users instinctively seek a search box, much like customers seeking assistance upon entering a physical store.
Mental Site-Maps: Returning to a website involves recalling its conceptual structure rather than a physical location, necessitating a mental retracing of steps.
Home Button Assurance: A readily visible home button assures users that no matter how lost they become, a fresh start is always accessible – akin to a “Get out of Jail free” card.
Steve Krug’s insights, encompassing user-centric design and human behaviour, remain as relevant as ever in the quest for crafting impactful and intuitive web experiences.