September 18, 2014
Steve Krug‘s book title, “Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability“, means users do not want to take time to learn or invest in abstract design on the web. It is just common sense when you think how simple it is to design for the audience, ha. Krug differentiates between the actual design and the reality of the user on the web. The first time I heard the title of his book, I laughed. It is a funny title but it gets attention and draws in the reader.
The first edition of the book was published in 2000. I read the book in 2004. I recently purchased the third edition which includes mobile website usability. I found enjoyment reading the other chapters but found the assignment focused on the Chapter Two, How We Really Use the Web: Scanning, Satisficing and Muddling Through. I like Kruger’s methods. They are easy to understand because reasonings of “why the user does what he does” is give.
Krug covers three fact of “real-world” web use. The first “fact of life” is that we don’t read web pages; we scan and we’re good at it. A learned behavior is that we don’t need to read everything. “Fact of life” number two is that we suffice and find the first reasonable choice and go with that. The remaining “fact of life” is that web users will muddle through without learning how things work. Understanding is not as important as finding what you’re looking for.
He goes on to explain why this happens he states that it’s not important to the audience or they find something that works and they just use that over and over. On the other hand if the user understand what’s going on there’s a better chance of finding what they are searching for which is a win-win if they understand the full range of what is offered and just not parts they stumble across. Also having them understand gives you a better chance of steering them to the parts of the site they want to see and so both feel smarter and more control when using the site. The rest of the book goes on to explain how to get to this point and different ways of doing it
Brings us to the bottom line which means that we need to design as if we were on the “super information highway”. Krug’s closing tells us that “if your audience is going to act like you’re designing billboards, than design great billboards” this is true and I have learned a lot from reading his book I have enjoyed it again.
Krug is a genius. He has taken usability and brought to the forefront of design and building web sites. I look forward to reading the rest of the Third Edition, which includes the following new chapters:
- Mobile: It’s not just a city in Alabama anymore
- Usability as common courtesy
- Accessibility and you
- Guide for the perplexed