Resources - Book Reviews
Review by Kim Lewandowski
Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability
Author(s): Steve Krug
Publisher and date of publication: New Riders Publishing, Indianapolis, IN, 2000
Audience: All levels
(on a scale of 1 to 10)
"Don't Make Me Think!" was written by a professional web usability consultant who wrote it for the benefit of web site designers who can't afford the services of someone like him. In my opinion, it's quite valuable to gain the experience of a web usability consultant without having to hire him, and this book is full of insights on how people use the web from someone who has watched probably thousands of people use (or try to use) web sites.
The book is divided into three sections - Guiding Principles, Things You Need to Get Right, and Making Sure You Got Them Right. It's written in a friendly, conversational style with bits of engaging humor here and there, especially in the ubiquitous footnotes. It concludes with methods of performing and interpreting your own usability tests.
The real-world examples do a good job of showing how users look at pages and when page elements are used well or badly. A number of conventions have emerged among web site designers; it's instructive to have the perspective of someone who has watched many site visitors use or misuse sites based on conventions that designers understand but users may not.
I honestly can't think of any. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book and consider it an important part of my professional library.
A lot of expensive advice is packed into this inexpensive book. Highly recommended for any web site designer/developer who does not have access to a high-priced usability consultant.
Copyright 2002, Kim Lewandowski, All Rights Reserved
Kim Lewandowski is the Web Site Manager for Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, Virginia. With a background in desktop publishing and network administration, she moved into web site design and management in 1996. She also served as Secretary/Newsletter Editor of a local computer user group for several years, writing a monthly column in the Umbrella newsletter. She is the List Archives Editor for the Wise-Women Web Site.