“Don’t make me think” by Steve Krug

While reading this book, I wrote down the main concepts from it. You may find them useful if you just finished reading audio book or want to refresh knowledge. Also, this notes can help you to decide — want you to read this book or not.

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  • If you can’t make a page self-evident, make it self-explanatory, meaning it requires a little thought to comprehend.
  • The most important reason to make things self-evident is that users don’t spend much time on a page anyway.
  • We scan pages instead of reading them for things that match the task at hand, personal interests, or hardwired trigger words.
  • We don’t choose the best option, we choose the first reasonable option, called satisficing.
  • We don’t figure out how things work, we forge ahead and muddle through without reading instructions.
  • Create a clear visual hierarchy, relying on prominence, grouping, and nesting of elements to provide cues.
  • Stick to conventions unless you know you have a better idea and everyone you show it to agrees.
  • Break up pages into clearly defined areas, and make obvious what is clickable on a page.
  • Keep visual busy-ness and background noise to a minimum.
  • it doesn’t matter how many times we have to click, as long as each is an easy choice.
  • get rid of half the words on each page, then get rid of half of what’s left.
  • Remove happy talk, which is introductory text that is sociable but content-free.
  • Eliminate the need for instructions by making everything self-explanatory, since users muddle through anyway.
  • People won’t use your web site if they can’t find their way around it.
  • Search-dominant users will look for the search box first, while link-dominant users will browse the site first.
  • The home page is important because it is a fixed place, always able to give the user a fresh start.
  • Make the search box a simple box with no options, but allow limiting the scope of the search on the page of results.
  • Every web page needs a name that matches the words clicked to get there.
  • Make breadcrumbs small and at the very top of a page, where they don’t interfere with the primary navigation.
  • An active tab should be a different color and physically connect with the space below it so it “pops” to the front.
  • Every site should have a clearly identifiable site ID, page name, sections, local navigation, “you are here” indicator, and search box.
  • Always avoid stacking underlined text links, as they are hard to read.
  • A home page should answer: what is this, what do they have here, what can I do here, why should I be/stay here?
  • A welcome blurb is a terse description; don’t use a corporate mission statement.
  • A tagline conveys a value proposition; don’t use a motto, which is a lofty and reassuring principle, goal, or ideal.
  • A home page should answer where to start, clearly allowing for searching or browsing.
  • Home page navigation and persistent navigation, two versions of the same thing, must have the same section names.
  • Consider static lists over pulldown menus, which don’t allow formatting for readability and require scrolling.
  • The culture of hype creates promises that must be delivered by the culture of craft.
  • The “average user” is a myth, so don’t design for him; what works is good, integrated design that fills a need.
  • Usability testing moves the discussion of what’s right or what wrong to what works or what doesn’t work.
  • Any testing with anyone is better than no testing, and a bit of testing earlier is better than a lot of testing later.
  • Test with three or four users each round, and test for more than one round to catch new problems.
  • Before designing your own site, test a live, comparable site to see what works and what doesn’t.
  • “Key task” testing assigns the user a task, and observing the steps taken. Allow the user some choice in the task.
  • Don’t agonize over finding the perfect solutions to found problems — just try something else and iterate.
  • Good design is a delicate balance, so when fixing a problem, ensure that you aren’t introduce new ones.
  • Think of users as having a reservoir of goodwill; if you deplete it, they might leave, and perhaps never return.
  • Provide a graceful and obvious way for the user to recover from errors.
  • If something confuses most people who use your site, it’s almost certain to confuse users with accessibility issues.
  • Put your web site content in the order that a screen reader should read it, and use CSS to adjust its position.
  • Asking for too much personal data can attract false data, or drive people away from submitting anything.
  • Check out my app at increaser.org to get more done by working smarter.

Reach the next level of focus and productivity with increaser.org.

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Software engineer, creator of increaser.org. More at geekrodion.com

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