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Don't Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability (3rd Edition) (Voices That Matter)

Don't Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability (3rd Edition) (Voices That Matter) - Steve Krug A nice overview of basic usability principles for building user interfaces. The call for do-it-yourself user testing is extremely important, though ignored or unknown to many companies. The sense of humor is great and the advice is fairly actionable and easy to follow.

The only downside (and hence a 4 star rating) is that the book could use more real world examples. Seeing many more screenshots of websites that do something well, side by side with those that do it poorly--or better yet, examples of incrementally improving a single design based on user testing--would make the lessons much more sticky.

Fun quotes from the book:

It's not rocket surgery.

The actual Average User is kept in a hermetically sealed vault at the International Bureau of Standards in Geneva.

What they actually do most of the time (if we’re lucky) is glance at each new page, scan some of the text, and click on the first link that catches their interest or vaguely resembles the thing they’re looking for. There are almost always large parts of the page that they don’t even look at. We’re thinking “great literature” (or at least “product brochure”), while the user’s reality is much closer to “billboard going by at 60 miles an hour.”

FACT OF LIFE #1: We don’t read pages. We scan them.

If your audience is going to act like you’re designing billboards, then design great billboards.

It doesn’t matter how many times I have to click, as long as each click is a mindless, unambiguous choice. —KRUG’S SECOND LAW OF USABILITY

The main thing you need to know about instructions is that no one is going to read them.

I think every Web development team should spend one morning a month doing usability testing. In a morning, you can test three users, then debrief over lunch. That’s it. When you leave the debriefing, the team will have decided what you’re going to fix before the next round of testing, and you’ll be done with testing for the month.

Experts are rarely insulted by something that is clear enough for beginners.

People are just as likely to be using their mobile devices while sitting on the couch at home, and they want (and expect) to be able to do everything. Or at least, everybody wants to do some things, and if you add them all up it amounts to everything.