Web Usability – Don’t Make Me Think

think2A Common Sense Guide To Web Usability, By Steve Krug

This book rocks. Anyone involved in anything to do with websites (so everyone) will get a lot out of it.

The basic premise is that people are coming to your site to serve their own interests, not yours. They don’t want to spend time trying to “figure it out.”

Fancy design and tricky programming features often get in the way, and unconventional layouts and navigation are often just REALLY not a good idea.

Another main point is that people have strongly held beliefs on what makes a great website. There’s a great diagram of the ideal homepage according to different individuals based on their job descriptions.

The designer likes a sleek and visually appealing site.

The programmer wants cool features and functionality.

The business development person likes lots of space for promos and ads.

And the CEO wants the site to have “PIZZAZ!!”

But these priorities need to get in line behind the needs of the person trying to use the site.

The last few chapters are on usability testing. The author bases his advise on a vast amount of actual, real-life research, and he even tells you how to do it yourself on a budget.

Some additional points are that people don’t read, they scan. They also don’t take the time to find the best option or solution the site may offer. They just click around until they find the first thing that’s “close enough,” or if they don’t find it. See ya!

This book is a quick, non-technical read. It’s entertaining, funny and packed with great advise.


  1. Michael on May 9, 2011 at 6:12 pm

    Alta, I fully agree that this is a wonderful book. I first discovered
    it a few years ago and have probably read the damned thing three or
    four times for fun. My favorite part was that it’s not about the
    number of clicks, but more about the ease of clicking. Go figure. All
    this time people were concerned about reducing number of clicks when
    the trick was keeping things simple 🙂

    • admin on May 17, 2011 at 3:03 pm

      I’m reading his new book right now: http://www.amazon.com/Rocket-Surgery-Made-Easy-Yourself/dp/0321657292
      Since reading Krug, I usually call someone when the site is almost done and ask them to click around while I’m on the phone with them. It’s always very informative, and it helps me really improve the site. It’s the most low maintenance usability testing of all!

  2. Meghan Ward on May 17, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    I’ll add this to my list! First I have to read Inbound Marketing and Seth Godin’s Tribes – both pretty short.

    • admin on May 17, 2011 at 3:21 pm

      It’s very well done, and although it only takes a couple hours to read, it has really had an impact on how I think about web design and development. Hardcore programmers and people who’s tech skills max out at sending an email attachment all can get a lot of out of it. How many books can you say that about?!