Book Review: Don't Make Me Think by Steve Krug

Last term
during graduate course of HCI (Human computer interaction), my professor Dr. Maxine Cohen,
a SUNY  Ph.D. in Systems Science, created
a WebCT forum thread called “HCI Resources”. Students were to post entries
ranging from web based HCI resources to newspaper articles and books which
they’ve found useful. Krug’s “Don’t make me think” subtitled as “A common sense
approach to web usability” has made quite a mark among the listings by multiple
mentions and was highlighted in several other assignment posts. This is when I
started reading it and despite the common belief that technical books are
selective reads, “Don’t make me think” is an addictive page turner in its right.


Krug’s book
is generally based on KIS (Keep it simple) principle and is an easy read. Like
the topic, book is aesthetically well designed and organized into distinct
chapters addressing different topics of web usability and HCI in general.  Chapter titles are not your-usual-everyday-headlines
but rather Daily Onion style ones depicting the theme discussed in the chapter.
Krug’s laws of usability may seem like common sense to most of us but you’d be
amazed to see how many websites around us don’t follow these simple guidelines
to enhance the user experience.

This two
hundred page book is divided into eleven chapters and definitely deserves to be
called “an illustrated guide on making your web presence meaningful!” Steve
Krug has worked hard in providing us concrete details and no-fluff advice on
all things web usability. With gentle wit and humor, he emphasizes on web
designing for scanning instead of reading, presenting simple mindless choices
to user, providing meaningful and short text and realization of business requirements
for frequent changes. Along with pertaining illustrations, author has provided
the reader interesting scenarios, comments, usability testing advice and web
accessibility measures. For a web designer, developer, an application
development manager or a technology devout CTO, this is a mind-opener towards
realization of HCI’s importance in the business. “Don’t make me think” makes
you think how important it is to understand that usability is not the enemy of
design and contrary to common belief, it augments a good design. Among several
acclaimed HCI books (for instance “User
Interface Design and Evaluation - Morgan Kaufmann 2005, ISBN: 0-12-088436-4
and ACM papers I have been through, I’ve found Krug’s laws to be most relevant
and practical. It’s a highly recommended reading for web designers, content
managers, web developers and all others who utilize web as core business tool
or accessorize on it.


Krug, Steve: Advanced Common Sense

Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability
by Steve