Don't Make Me Think... Usability

I am reading "Don't Make Me Think" by Steve Krug.  For those of you doing product management in the web page, SAAS, or Cloud space, this book is extremely helpful.  It gives a great perspective of how you can improve your own sites by providing examples of current sites and why they're good or bad. 

The idea behind the book is that your user shouldn't have to think - everything they do should come naturally.  I think when we're doing web and product design, we forget what the user might see.  Steve Krug brings many examples and statistics into the book, including some about the frequent use of the back button.  He also points out that if a user doesn't understand your product or your site, they'll quickly move to another.

Why do we populate our sites and products with so much information? 
Is it true that a great product shouldn't need instructions? 
I know that Apple doesn't need any more positive press, but isn't that the reason that their products are so successful? 

Spending time on the design of the products that you're creating and managing is one of the first things you should be doing.  I'll talk a bit more on usability testing and feedback in future posts, but what are your thoughts on this?  Have you read this book?


  1. Good post. As you said, Apple long ago (in the early Mac regime) focused on making computers and software that didn't require racks of documentation for users to "master" to get value out of their computer.

    for the record, I was still taking programming courses on mainframes in 1984, and in a corner of the terminal room was a HUGE rack of manuals that documented the system calls. Shudder)

    Today, if I am interacting with a product, and I need to hit F1, or go to the "help" menu, I simply move to something else. Gmail is at the edge of usable. Getting your mind around labels versus folders is not as clever and intuitive as Google thinks.

    I have bookmarked this and will be back often!

    1. Thanks for following!
      You bring up a great point about moving to another site if you need help. Product Managers need to think about this when designing their sites - could I use this if I didn't have instructions?! Sometimes, we rely too heavily on our documentation.

      I think Google's gmail and other free products could use an improvement - every time they complete an upgrade, I'm more confused than I was before. An upgrade should be simple - any thoughts on upgrading and improving or worsening the experience?


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