Book Review: “Don’t make me think”

Those of you who know me are familiar with an often used phrase "measure twice; cut once". It's not often that I go against the 'let's think this through' rule. However, a new book by Steve Krug entitled 'Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability' turns that theory upside down. Could this really mean that I'm thinking about a book that tells me not to think? Well, I guess so, but don't for a minute get the idea that this book advocates building a site with no forethought. The ideal site here is not one that is 'built' without thinking, as much as 'navigated' without thinking.


The overarching concept for the book is this message; make your site so absolutely dummy proof, that even someone who is not thinking can successfully understand what your site is all about, and find the information they are seeking. In other words, don't make visitors to your site think! Any amount of time spent thinking is time and energy your user can better spend doing something else -like for example buying something! If something is clickable, make it LOOK clickable. If it's a navbar with common navigational items in it, then put it in the proper place in the page. He chastises some of us as designers who have thought "how can a page design reflect my creativity?" He cautions that while there may be a time and a place for creativity, it generally is not your navbar where you should exercise the creative process. Another confirmation from Krug is that a web page visitor doesn't read; they scan. We've all heard that before, but it's useful to see it in print. Are the people who are coming to your site day in and day out really THAT impatient? Probably, says Krug. He de-bunks a couple of accepted web myths as well. He disagrees (as do I) with the three click rule. Also, he's not so sure that a visitor to your site will bail on you and start the search process all over again if they can't find the information they want on your site. Although you hear that said often, he thinks that the investment of time it took to get them to your site, will hold them there longer than you may realize. Who wants to go back to Google and start from the beginning, after all? The book is a short read; you should be able to finish it in a weekend. There's nothing in it that you or I haven't thought of on our own. Nothing ground-breaking or earth-shattering either. Read it not expecting to learn anything new, but for your peace of mind and sanity. The last chapter alone is worth the time spent reading it. He offers advice on what to tell the boss or client when they ask for an extra bell or whistle that adds absolutely no value to the site. That's a touchy subject, and he handles it as he does the entire book with a sense of humor. Final comment: It's a little fluffy on content to be honest. If you're short on funds... save your money for the next "Bible" of choice. Reading it though is worthwhile, (even if you have to borrow it from me) and it just might make your next site planning meeting go a little easier!
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  1. What a pleasure it must be for you to have such an interesting job and to get to know some juicy bits of info.

    Comment by Fredssg — April 5, 2007 @10:07 am

  2. And here is my list of recently published web development related books: Check it out.

    Comment by Koistya `Navin — January 10, 2009 @9:06 pm

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