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Good website design doesn’t make me think

Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug was a great read when I first read it over ten years ago now and so I am delighted to find that he has written a follow up revised version since (2014). I’ll admit, a lot of what Steve talks about I think of as common sense – in fact the strapline for the book is “A common sense approach to web usability” but I am surprised at how many people, good web designers among them, don’t take a logical approach to a website layout.

Web usability

I’m a fan of easy to use. And for me, easy to use means easy to find stuff and lots of ‘sign-posting’. For Krug (and for me), if you have to stop for a millisecond to work out what you need to do next, the signposts are not doing their job.

I recently took part in some user-testing, which was fascinating. But I have actually been user-testing for many years, just not in such a formal arena. My friends and family are very used to me asking them to “find a product and buy it”, “book an event” or “read this news item” on websites while I peer over their shoulder and chuckle – or resist the temptation to grab the mouse and show them how it is done!

Responsive design has changed the world

Krug admits that a lot has changed in the web world though – Mobile is no longer just a city in Alabama – he says it took so long for him to publish the next edition of the book, because

“The human brain’s capacity doesn’t change from one year to the next, so the insights from studying human behavior have a very long shelf life.

Jakob neilsen

(Jakob Neilsen’s words). And if you don’t know who he is…. both of them are well worth a read for any business owner as much as any web designer.