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Rocket Surgery Made Easy: The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Finding and Fixing Usability Problems

4.08  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,973 Ratings  ·  103 Reviews
It's been known for years that usability testing can dramatically improve products. But with a typical price tag of $5,000 to $10,000 for a usability consultant to conduct each round of tests, it rarely happens.
In this how-to companion to "Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability," Steve Krug spells out a streamlined approach to usability testing that
ebook, 166 pages
Published December 8th 2009 by New Riders Publishing (first published December 1st 2009)
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Chad Warner
Aug 08, 2014 Chad Warner rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Chad by: Steve Krug
An easy-to-read guide to doing your own inexpensive usability testing. I liked Krug’s humorous writing and entertaining use of quotations, and the book'scartoons make it even easier to understand.I didn't find it as informative asKrug’s previous book, Don’t Make Me Think.

Krug says that DIY usability testing is inferior to hiring a usability consultant, but it’s better than not testing. He says that if you can afford to, you should hire a usability professional.

Krug summarizes his approach as fol
Beverly Ho
Apr 22, 2012 Beverly Ho rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just like "Don't Make Me Think", this is a concise, easy to read, and valuable book that anyone in software development should read. Steve Krug has a way of explaining the Usability Testing concept that can be applied easily. It was an interesting read. I couldn't put it down until I finished it before I landed on a 6 hour flight.
Oct 25, 2015 Bronwen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Bronwen by: Paul Kotz
Shelves: non-fiction, work
A very easy, enjoyable and interesting read that I started and finished in one afternoon (something I rarely accomplish these days)! A lot of it is common sense but I didn't know anything about user testing before this so it was a great introduction. Highly recommended for anyone working in UX but even if you're not I think you could still get a lot out of it. It's made me think a lot more about user experiences in all contexts: not just websites and apps but also anything from using hardware to ...more
Sep 20, 2015 Geeta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: friends in software
Recommended to Geeta by: Colleague friend
Shelves: it
A good guide to 'how to'. Described well how to conduct usability testing. Well written, easy read.

A brief write up:
The book is useful as an introduction to usability testing. It covers the subject in details and provides a step by step guide on how to perform the testing on your own.
What is usability testing and why do we perform it?
Watching people try to use what you’re creating / designing / building (or something you’ve already created / designed / built), with the intention of (a) making it
006.7019 KRU
p5 Jakob Nielsen "discount usability engineering"
p44 search online "focus group rental' or "market research"

Google Website Optimizer
UPA (Usability Professionals Association)

recommended books
testing in general
Handbook of Usability Testing: How to Plan, Design, and Conduct Effective Tests by Jeffrey Rubin
A Practical Guide to Usability Testing by Joseph S. Dumas
Usability Testing Essentials: Ready, Set ...Test! by Carol Barnum

Specific topic
Paper Prototyping: The Fast and
Sep 15, 2010 Elizabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I feel that Steve Krug's work is invaluable for anyone whose professional or personal life is more than 50% "web stuff".

Rocket Surgery Made Easy is Krug's follow up to 2000's Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability, which I'm reasonably certain that anyone who works with the aforementioned "web stuff" has already encountered. Rocket Surgery takes a DIY approach to usability, scaling it down and back (or up, depending on your organization) so as to fit neatly in an iterative
Paul Boos
Jan 20, 2014 Paul Boos rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ux
This book really shows how easy usability testing can be... Without a large leap, you can easily see how to fit this into a regular Agile cycle (running them against mock-ups, pretotypes, as well as perhaps customizing an iteration review with usability tests on the working software as a feedback item).

I found it very clearly written actually appreciated the detail provided (example - verbatim scripts to say during a session). I did find few spots a little repetitive, but not so much that it tur
Jun 18, 2012 Jeff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Early on, you're pointed to as a demonstration of the technique.

His basic thesis is that one morning a month, everyone in the company (devs, designers, ceo, etc) observes three people from outside the organization attempt to do a few tasks with your product (as well as some things like try to understand your home page). Each individual session is recorded with something like Camtasia and simulcasted to another room where the company has spectators that ar
Bernhard Woeckl
May 20, 2015 Bernhard Woeckl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you have never done a usability study and want to give it a first try: YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK. Why?
- very easy to read (... and not a lot of pages)
- provides a lot of practical hints
- includes very good templates for running 0815 usability studies
- provides a holistic view on usability evaluations (from recruiting, planning, execution to reporting and usability optimization strategies)
... I have done a lot of usability studies myself - and this book really describes the doing in a short, ea
Amber Mccoy
Feb 24, 2015 Amber Mccoy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a fantastic book on usability testing. I have never actually studied how to properly test a website so this was a great read. The examples that were given were beyond what I would imagined as well as the sample material available for download. I highly recommend this book for anyone who works with a UX Designer or Team, web designers, etc.
Ash Moran
Very straightforward and practical guide to usability testing. It's basically a best-practice manual, so there's a lot of "do this, it works" and a little bit of theory / follow-up references. It achieves its goal simply and effectively. Mainly this is about the mechanics of running a discount usability test, but there are also surprisingly good bits about how to sneak in usability tests despite counter-productive politics. Tips like making sure people with design agendas don't facilitate the te ...more
Do you make websites, or contribute to them in some way? Then you should read this great little guide to 'discount' user testing. It'll tell you how to get it done on a tight budget, and point you in the right direction for further information.

Krug has a nice breezy style, and I liked his sense of humour. He has decades of experience and knows exactly what questions you've got and how to answer them.

I'm bang in the middle of the target market for this book: new to usability testing, with no bud
William Brizzee
Jan 13, 2015 William Brizzee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Like Krug's other book - "Don't Make Me Think", this book provides a ton of great insight on how usability testing can be done, without being overwhelmingly difficult. This is a perfect book to improve products/apps without breaking the budget, and is a great read for teams that aren't already doing UX.
Sashko Valyus
Dec 09, 2014 Sashko Valyus rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Книга, яку варто прочитати кожному, хто хоче покращити свій продукт. Дуже просто "на пальцях" розказує як проводити тестування власного продукту. Книга практично проводить за руку через весь процес, надає всі потрібні документи та настанови, для усіх учасників процесу. Must-read for UX guys.
Janice Schwarz
Dec 21, 2014 Janice Schwarz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The 2nd book by Steve Krug. Again, easy to read, even for non-tech folks.

Again: a MUST for any website owner, future site owner, or anyone that makes websites.

This is especially great for those that want to enter the UX (User Experience) and Usability fields.
Mehdi Hasan
You probably don't need this book if you have read Krug's "Don't Make Me think", unless you need step by step instructions with every minute detail on DIY usability testing and checklist on preparation (which is again freely available on the companion site).
Jun 08, 2015 Coral rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really, really like Krug. He's a smart guy and writes really approachable, encouraging prose. I got my whole Web Team to read Dont Make Me Think, and it hasn't just improved the Web Team's discussions of the website but, it seems to me, the whole organization's approach to customer service.

After reading the sequel, Rocket Surgery Made Easy, I feel much more confident about my ability to do usability testing. I probably won't do the once-a-month/everyone-watches testing he suggests; I'm a dev
Mar 26, 2016 Samira is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
..."I’ve always said that writing is the hardest work I know of and that I can’t understand why anyone would do it unless someone was holding a gun to their head (which, of course, is what deadlines are all about)." ...
Rachel Craig
Apr 29, 2015 Rachel Craig rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, 4-stars
I finished this one a while ago, and kept forgetting to mark it as Read! Oops. Anyways, this is a great book about low cost Usability Testing. This book was recommended to me as part of my internship with Hennepin County. It's a great, quick read about Usability testing and why companies should do some low cost, three people testing once a month. A definite recommended read for people interested in Usability testing as part of their careers. Maybe if Steve Kruger updates his book with a mobile t ...more
Mar 16, 2011 Jaime rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, 2011
In a past life (or, about 3 jobs ago) I read Don’t Make Me Think, and I loved its casual and humorous style. So when I needed to read up on usability testing, I knew Steve Krug wouldn’t let me down. Rocket Surgery has that same easy-going tone, and he breaks down usability testing into easy steps. Also very helpful are the demo and sample scripts available on the companion web site. Before I started, I was daunted by the thought of usability testing, and was fairly sure I would screw it up (or a ...more
Sep 08, 2011 Jessie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Steve has a very entertaining writing style. This is a quick, easy read. And the techniques actually work in the real world. I had already seen Steve's do-it-yourself usability testing in action - it's wildly used by the U.S. federal government agencies. The scripts and checklists provided by Steve are a huge timesaver - they can be used without much personalized tweaking.

I will note though that Steve "requested" that I read his book before attending his workshop - that just lead to a LOT of re
Philippe Heckly
May 03, 2015 Philippe Heckly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Steve dive deeper into usability and best practices. It's a manual with good examples of how to conduct user interviews. A nice complement to Steve Portigal book on getting the most out of user interviews and Kim Goodwin very thoroughly detailed analysis of the process.
Paul Lumsdaine
Dec 23, 2014 Paul Lumsdaine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great primer on usability/user testing from the man who brought you "Dont Make Me Think". It reiterates the basic premise of Lean UX which is to test early and test often.
Aaron M
May 06, 2012 Aaron M rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the missing book in world of usability testing. While it is truly a companion to Krug's previous book, I would argue it can be used as the companion to almost any noteworthy UX books covering the theory of creating functional software.

Here Krug outlines a method for testing and implementing a testing cycle that is not only effective, but practical. Practical being the key. He notes in the book and I think those of us in the real world of development would agree, that minimizing the amou
Matthew Forzan
Jan 28, 2016 Matthew Forzan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Simple books have always been a winner in my eyes and Rocket Surgery Made Easy is no exception.

Krug writes in a unique style that I'd best describe as "relaxed and confident", detailing how best to go about finding and fixing website usability problems on the cheap, without hiring an expert. The book details what you'll need, what to do, and how long everything should take making the process almost fool-proof.

Even without executing the strategies suggested, the book provides enough information f
David Golden
Nov 08, 2012 David Golden rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant 80/20 guide to user testing

Rocket Surgery is down-to-earth and practical, with plenty of step-by-step guides, checklists and real-world advice. The conversational style makes it approachable and convincing. It goes deeper into detail than the chapter(s) in Don't Make Me Think; if that was enough for you to go on, you might not need this. But if you were still hesitant about user testing after that, this will give you the extra direction you need.
Jakelene (friendsarebread)
This was exactly what I needed for work. I recently read Krug's other book, Don't Make Me Think, which was a great introduction to website design and basic usability, but this book really delved into the actually process of usability testing. It's an excellent examination of user-first experiences, and a lot of the advice and tests discussed in this book could be applied to other fields - not just websites.

Honestly, I'm probably going to go buy my own copy for future reference. It's a short, con
Apr 29, 2014 Erika rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a great book for anyone interested in improving the websites they create. It provides helpful schedules, prompts, scripts, and tools necessary to successfully accomplish do-it-yourself usability testing. Plus, the narration is engaging and conversational.
Haley Howard fannin
Yeah, read this so that I could do some web usability testing at my job. Highly recommend it for anyone doing DIY usability testing. Super easy and straight forward.
Raya Dimitrova
Oct 15, 2014 Raya Dimitrova rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just perfect for getting you started with usability testing!
This incredibly practical book is full of brilliant insights (based on broad professional experience) and the best how-to-put-this-to-actual-practise-without-devoting-a-century-to-it advices. All the information you need to get a confident start in usability testing is nicely served in a neat dish for you here. All you have to do is take it in and do some actual testing yourself.
If you’re in for it, don’t have any doubts - Steve Krug’s
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Steve Krug (pronounced “kroog”) is best known as the author of Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability, now in its second edition with over 300,000 copies in print.
Ten years later, he finally gathered enough energy to write another one: the usability testing handbook Rocket Surgery Made Easy: The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Finding and Fixing Usability Problems.
The books were bas
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