Review of Don't Make Me Think
Don't Make Me Think
Posted by Adam Hayes
Don't make me think by Steve Krug is a refreshing "back to the basics" type of book. He brings out a number of basic usability issues:
- We don't figure out how things work. We muddle through
- Benefits of using tabs
- Search options
We don't figure things out, we just muddle through
This usability tip sure rang through for me. Before I ever send something out for a client to "try" I have someone else, who has never seen the site, take it for a test drive. Every time I test, I realize just how little people out there know. It always makes me think of the book The Big Red Fez - People really are stupid.
Every time someone comes to a new website they have to readjust and relearn where things are. They click on the very first thing they "think" might be what they are looking for because they know that they can always just click "Back" and try again. There is very little invested in a click. However, we should take a hint from "how to make friends and influence people" and get people to "say yes often and early". Make the way easy and lead people to where they want to be. Every click should reinforce the option to move forward instead of clicking back.
Benefits of using tabs
I personally am not a big tab person, but he makes some very valid points.
- They're self evident. Everyone knows how to use tabs
- They're hard to miss. People might miss a lone button, but tabs are a no brainer.
- They're slick. "If done correctly, tabs can add polish and serve a useful purpose.
- They suggest a physical space. They create the illusion that the page moves to the "front"
I'm going to have to rethink my methods and try using tabs.
Steve suggests that many people out there are in a "search" mentality and therefore like to use search options in a website. Unfortunately, I just finished Call to Action which goes the other way and says that most searches fail inside a website when using search. Call to Action suggests that you use good navigation in lieu of search.
I'm of the opinion that if you make your search friendly (list common spelling mistakes, add references to plurals, and create "ranked" search results) then you might be ok. Otherwise, leave them out. I just know too many people out there that can't spell.
Overall, it was a great book. I'd give it 4 out of 5 stars.
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