Essential marketing books summed up in 404 words, or less. 

In this post, we look at Steve Krug's 'Don't Make Me Think'. Since it's first published in 2000, hundreds of thousands of Web designers and developers have relied on usability guru Steve Krug’s guide.

'Don't Make Me Think' can help you to understand the principles of intuitive navigation, usability and web design. The latest update of the classic reexamines the principles and brings us right up to date with mobile usability.

Summary

If something looks like it will require a large investment of time - or looks like it will - it's less likely to be used.

Usability is defined as 'a person of average intelligence (or below average) can figure out how to use the thing to accomplish something without it being more trouble than it's worth.

Understand the basic principles of eliminating question marks. You'll learn to recognise and avoid them in the things you're building.

Users (if we are lucky) glance at a page, scan some text, and click on the first link that catches their interest, or vaguely resembles what they are looking for. There are large parts of the page that aren't looked at.

We scan pages as we are usually on a mission, and quite good at it.

If your audience is going to act like you're designing a billboard, then design great billboards.

'Back' is the most used button in web browsers.

We don't figure out how things work, we muddle through.

Now read: The Design of Everyday Things

Everything on a page can't have prominence and be of equal importance.

Don't let headings float. Make sure they're closer to the section they introduce than to the section they follow.

Long paragraphs can be daunting.

Omit needless words. Removing half of your words is a realistic goal.

A common mistake is to fail to give the lower-level navigation the same attention as the top.

The name of the page should match the words I clicked onto to get there.

Establish credibility and trust.

The homepage should appeal to everyone who visits the site, despite their interests.

`A homepage should convey the bigger picture. Make it clear what the site is.

We make snap judgements, but they tend to be reliable predictors of our more reasoned assessments.

Don't trust your own judgement. Test external to your business.

We tend to think most users are like us: which is wrong.

There is often a struggle internally between art (designers) and commerce (sales). Find a balance. Most of the challenges in good usability boil down to making good tradeoffs.

All web users are unique. All web use is basically idiosyncratic.

Focus groups are not usability tests.

Testing one user is 100 percent better than testing none. Testing one user early is better than testing 50 near the end.

Find users who reflect your audience, but don't get hung up on it.

We recommend you read Don't Make Me Think Revisited in its entirety. Follow the link here to grab yourself a copy.