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Lost Semicolon πŸ’»πŸ–±
Lost Semicolon πŸ’»πŸ–±

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Should you read "Don't make me think" by Steve Krug?

Book cover

TLDR: Yes, Its a short, well written and insightful book with messages that still stand true today.

The Review

"Don't Make Me Think" is a simple and fun book about designing web pages written by a usability consultant Steve Krug. I picked it up as it was short, full of illustrations and most importantly it seemed like an entertaining read about a topic I didn't really give much thought to previously. I can't be the only one not spending my time thinking about breadcrumbs - some ducks might disagree though(1).

The book is filled with simple concepts, explained well and without buzzwords or hype. Heck, even Steve manages to divide the usual business into "Hype" and "craft" folk and identifies himself as the latter. Maybe this is why his book is so simple. Or maybe it is because the book is written in a way in which follows his definition of usability:

"A person of average (or even below average) ability and experience can figure out how to use the thing to accomplish something without it being more trouble than it’s worth"

It's funny, that almost 7 years since the revisited edition, even though the world of the web and mobile has changed so much, the base concept still remains the same: Make your product achieve a goal and simply.

Apart from the more obvious design tips like the importance of visual hierarchies or omitting useless words, Steve also talks about some general behavioural lessons whether it is from users or your managers. I think this is why I liked it so much - He doesn't just give you a tick list of things you can do to make your website or app more usable but talks about how there is no average user, how to be better at continuous usability testing and why people do what they do.

My 3 things

With that in mind, My 3 favourite takeaways from the book are:

  1. People pick the first "good enough option" and muddle through. It is highly unlikely a user will read instructions or help text.
  2. Use conventions and don't reinvent the wheel unless you will make something much clearer. Clarity trumps consistency.
  3. A good shared resource will be destroyed by overuse, if it is not managed. Think the front page of a website.

Negatives

As for the negatives.... I think the mobile experience has changed so much, It deserves more space. The revisited book came out in 2014, just as the era of mobile was getting into the big swing of things.

So.... should you read it?

Yes. I would absolutely recommend the book and I think it will be one I come back to again and again.

Where to buy

You know the green shpiel β†’ Check if your local library has a copy of the book, if not buy books locally or buy them 2nd hand : https://www.abebooks.co.uk/servlet/BookDetailsPL?bi=31017851480&searchurl=an%3Dsteve%2Bkrug%26sortby%3D17&cm_sp=snippet--srp1--title8

Footnotes

  1. please don't feed bread to ducks, its bad for them.)

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