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Notes on a Book - Don't Make Me Think

The latest book I read was a gem, pure and simple. I’ve read about usability with some frequency online and I’ve attended Human Factors usability training. It turns out the best documentation on the whole web usability question is in the form of a short and sweet book by Steve Krug called Don't Make Me Think.

Definitely a must buy, Don't Make Me Think runs the gamut from name dropping William Strunk to explaining exactly why one would benefit from copying Amazon to just how to cheaply and easily make usability testing a part of every project. There’s a reason that this book costs as much on half.com as it does on Amazon.com: it’s that good.

Brain Dump:

Most important usability feature: Don’t make me think.

Happy talk must die:

Omit needless words (Strunkism).

No one will read instructions unless your site sucks.


Every page needs a name - highlights in navigation are not sufficient. (Name needs to match what was clicked.)

Make tabs look tabby.

Copy Amazon tabs:

Trunk test for good web navigation. On any page, answer these questions:

Convey the big picture on the home page. Answer:

Avoid mission statement on home page.

Home page is one of the most important pages to test.

Get a good tagline.

Home page should show where to start if:

It’s OK for homepage to have different orientation from the rest of the site, though navigation should have commonalities.

The book contained too many excellent usability testing tips to count.

Accessibility low-hanging fruit: