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Tech Tips, Tricks & Trivia

by 'Anil' Radhakrishna
An architect's notes, experiments, discoveries and annotated bookmarks.

Search from over a hundred HOW TO articles, Tips and Tricks


Book Review: Don't Make Me Think


The second edition of Don't Make Me Think by Steve Krug which came out in 2005 is a short 200-page stylish book on Web Usability. It has glowing reviews on Amazon. Jeff Atwood (I'm a long-time follower of his blog and I discovered "Code Complete" after reading through some of this articles) is a big fan of this book.

Going by the reviews, I picked this book thinking it is a classic on this topic. I found that one-fourth of the short book was just pleasantries, credits, index, author plugging about his successful career as a consultant ["I'm writing this book for people who can't afford to hire (or rent) someone like me."], workshops & his (then) forthcoming book and lots of blank space.

The author tells us 'I was proud of how short the book was. It took a lot of work, but it was an important part of the "practices what it preaches" business' but when you read the chapter "Omit needless words" that has 4 pages, it feels ironical. 

The book stresses on the importance of Usability testing. It provides some guidelines & reinforces those ideas through case-studies.  However it had fewer takeaways than I expected. This advice in a chapter on Accessibility lives up to the book's tagline "A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability" - 3 of the "The 5 things you can do right now":

  • Read an article
  • Read a book
  • Start using Cascading Style Sheets

The author frequently references Amazon for its good usability practices. So after you understand the basics, I think the best way to learn about Web Usability is by "looking at good sites". Considering that the Web is constantly evolving, Web Usability is a topic that you can never finish learning about.

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