Dont Make me Think

Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability [book review]

Don’t make me think is a classic in Web Usability. This short and highly illustrated book presents concepts that can easily improve any website. The author has a very funny and easy writing style, which makes for a fast and productive read.

The book covers a very wide range of usability techniques: web navigation, page layout & design,  buttons, copywriting, and the myth of the average user. One concept described in the book is the uniqueness of visitors or, in other words, the fact that usability and design depend on the context and the website customers:

The point is, it’s not productive to ask questions like “Do most people like pulldown menus?” The right kind of question to ask is “Does this pulldown, with these items and this wording in this context on this page create a good experience for most people who are likely to use this site?”

The author also has a very interesting metaphor to usability testing (I believe it can be used to any kind of website testing):

But I finally realized that testing is really more like having friends visiting from out of town.  Inevitably, as you make the tourist rounds with them, you see things about your home town that you usually don’t notice because you are so used to them. And at the same time, you realize that a lot of things that you take for granted aren’t obvious to everyone.

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Book Description*

Five years and more than 100,000 copies after it was first published, it’s hard to imagine anyone working in Web design who hasn’t read Steve Krug’s “instant classic” on Web usability, but people are still discovering it every day.  In this second edition, Steve adds three new chapters in the same style as the original: wry and entertaining, yet loaded with insights and practical advice for novice and veteran alike.  Don’t be surprised if it completely changes the way you think about Web design.

Three New Chapters!

  • Usability as common courtesy — Why people really leave Web sites
  • Web Accessibility, CSS, and you — Making sites usable and accessible
  • Help! My boss wants me to ______. — Surviving executive design whims

“I thought usability was the enemy of design until I read the first edition of this book.  Don’t Make Me Think! showed me how to put myself in the position of the person who uses my site.  After reading it over a couple of hours and putting its ideas to work for the past five years, I can say it has done more to improve my abilities as a Web designer than any other book.

In this second edition, Steve Krug adds essential ammunition for those whose bosses, clients, stakeholders, and marketing managers insist on doing the wrong thing.  If you design, write, program, own, or manage Web sites, you must read this book.”  — Jeffrey Zeldman, author ofDesigning with Web Standards

Author Information*

Steve Krug is a highly respected usability consultant who has worked quietly for years for companies like Apple, Netscape, AOL,, Excite@Home, and Don’t Make Me Think! is the product of more than 10 years experience as a user advocate.

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* Information from publisher website