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Don’t Make Me Think

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Don’t Make Me Think

A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability

New Riders,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Enable new users to understand and love your website’s home page immediately.

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Editorial Rating



  • Innovative
  • Applicable


You need this intensely clear, readable book. Seriously. Once upon a time, you simply could have bought a copy for your design staff and let them absorb it. However, as more aspects of business migrate online, more people in your company will want a say in how your website is organized. To make informed decisions and have a shared frame of reference, stock up on usability expert Steve Krug’s stories.This colloquial, amusing book does a great job of articulating design and organizing principles for your website. With its lucid, engaging tone and absolute lack of pretension or confusion, Krug’s IT classic will help web designers, anyone doing business online and anyone who wants to.


Web Design and “Usability”

The principles of good web design are “just common sense” and you can learn to apply them. A great website must have usability, in that it must work for customers, serve your purposes and be easy to use. If clients find your site difficult to use, they’ll avoid it, and yet there’s no single right approach to designing a website.

To begin, simplify your site. “Don’t make me think!” is the “first law of usability.” People should never be confused about what to do, where to go or what to click to find what they want. Make everything on your site “obvious and clickable.” If your users have to ask about how things work, they’ll get distracted. Even if their “mental chatter” only lasts “a fraction of a second,” it’s too long. Users should never, ever have to ask, “Where am I?” or “Where should I begin?”

What you can’t “make...self-evident,” make “self-explanatory.” Design your website to answer people’s questions with a few words. Usability is a form of courtesy, so be polite to your users. When people enter your site, they begin with a half-full “reservoir of goodwill.” An organized home page fills that reservoir to the top. If you leave...

About the Author

Steve Krug, who has been a usability consultant for two decades, works on website design for major commercial clients and is a frequent speaker.

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