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Don't Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability

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Since Don’t Make Me Think was first published in 2000, over 400,000 Web designers and developers have relied on Steve Krug’s guide to help them understand the principles of intuitive navigation and information design.

In this 3rd edition, Steve returns with fresh perspective to reexamine the principles that made Don’t Make Me Think a classic-–with updated examples and a new chapter on mobile usability. And it’s still short, profusely illustrated…and best of all–fun to read.

If you’ve read it before, you’ll rediscover what made Don’t Make Me Think so essential to Web designers and developers around the world. If you’ve never read it, you’ll see why so many people have said it should be required reading for anyone working on Web sites.

216 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 2000

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About the author

Steve Krug

9 books414 followers
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 third edition with over 600,000 copies in print.

His second book is the usability testing handbook Rocket Surgery Made Easy: The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Finding and Fixing Usability Problems.

The books were based on the 20+ years he spent as a usability consultant for a wide variety of clients like Apple, Bloomberg.com, Lexus.com, NPR, the International Monetary Fund, and many others.

His consulting firm, Advanced Common Sense ("just me and a few well-placed mirrors") is based in Chestnut Hill, MA.

Steve currently spends most of his time writing, teaching usability workshops, and watching old movies on tv.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,913 reviews
Profile Image for الخنساء.
326 reviews726 followers
July 5, 2010
عندما فتحت المساحة المخصصة للمراجعة كنت أنوي الكتابة بالإنجليزية، لكن دافع قومي ربما جعلني أكتب بالعربية
الكتاب جيد و دمه خفيف، وشرحه واضح جداً، لكن موجه بشكل كبير للمواقع التجارية
لكن مثلا المواقع الحكومية، المواقع التعليمية كلها تحتاج معايير لقابلية الاستخدام تختلف عن الموجودة في الكتاب، لكن المجال كما بدا لي مفتوح وفي البدايات و يحتاج للكثير
أيضا مصممي الأنظمة و قواعد البيانات، و واجهاتها بحاجة لقابلية الاستخدام وتحديد بعض المعايير لقابلية الاستخدام أيضا
Profile Image for Kian.
61 reviews14 followers
May 18, 2008
Well, this is an absolute gem of a book. I picked this up the day after finishing Beautiful Code and to be honest, really wasn't in the mood for any more particularly heavy content for a few days.

But Steve Krug makes the topic of web usability genuinely entertaing. He holds a light writing style with a touch of wit that helps to keep your attention from cover to cover. Add to that the short size of the book at only a couple of hundred pages, and the vibrant but clear layout and you've got a book that's in itself extremely usable and accessible.

When it comes to the content itself, it couldn't be explained clearer. Steve's chapters are logical and concise, you won't find any waffle in here that doesn't help to communicate the message of the chapter. He uses a adequate number of examples to illustrate his points, and even helps to demonstrate how various stakeholders in web projects can all contribute to the usability of the site.

For me, the most interesting idea was of usability testing. Having led a relatively sheltered web life, with most of my work either focusing on small scale projects or internal projects, the concept of usability testing presented as a lightweight process that can be repeated at minimal cost over and over again had not occured to me. Steve presents a framework for running these sessions that elimates all excuses for usability testing to be included in a project lifecycle.

Who would I recommend the book to? Anybody with a stake in web projects. Managers should read it (on one of their first-class trans-atlantic trips), designers should read it and keep the golden rules to heart before they put pen to paper (or stylus to tablet) and programmers/developers should read it to understand the technical requirements of implementing usability. Rarely do I say a book has opened my eyes, but I think I'll make an exception with this one.
Profile Image for Keyo Çalî.
66 reviews97 followers
August 14, 2020
a pensive book for developers
Every developer needs to read it.
It makes me think deeply about usability and accessibility.
For example, after I read a chapter on accessibility, I decided to design a website that could be helpful for blind people. Its main purpose is to help us have a better life. Because we use the software more than anything else now. You are reading my review on a website or on an application. Steve Krug's style makes me have a smile on my face while reading and understand it very well.
Profile Image for Leonard Gaya.
Author 1 book936 followers
November 17, 2015
I read this handbook on Web usability for work related reasons. It was originally published in the early 2000’s, shortly after Jakob Nielsen’s Designing Web Usability. Both Krug and Nielsen have since become (along with Steve Jobs and Jony Ives, at Apple) the head honchos of Web Design.

This short and highly readable book covers topics such as: how people really use websites (they don’t actually read, they like to scan and browse mindlessly… but we already knew that, didn’t we?), how to design navigation and breadcrumbs, etc. Krug insists on the importance of usability testing: one chapter is actually a cookbook on how to conduct user tests without getting top-heavy on the matter. This recent republication also includes a chapter on designing for mobile and accessibility.

A very enjoyable, casual (and oftentimes fun) read, that the staff at Goodreads should consider rereading from time to time: a word to the wise is enough!

Thus far, I'd say our old bookahs are still more usable than anything digital… or aren’t they? :)
Profile Image for Lina Aude.
38 reviews70 followers
October 26, 2009
كتاب مميز و بسيط جداً
فكرته قائمة على العنوان " لا تجعلني أفكر "
فهو يعطي فكرة لكل مبرمج أو مطور للمواقع أن يقدم موقع للزائر بحيث يكون الموقع بسيط و سلس و واضح دون حاجة ذلك الزائر لإن يدخل - بالحيط - حتى يتمكن من فهم قصدك كمبرمج للموقع .
و حتى إن لم تكن مبرمجاً يمكنك بكل بساطة التعامل مع الكتاب
42 reviews2 followers
May 29, 2008
MUST READ for anyone with any say over the look & feel of a commercial web page (designers, managers, marketing people, executives, etc.). It's a quick and easy read and is like having my own web usability consultant.

Goodreads and LOTS of other sites should have their managment teams read this.
Profile Image for Katelyn Jenkins.
204 reviews7 followers
September 18, 2018
Quick, thorough, and to the point, as it suggests. Even inspired me to write a review, on the web. I don't even NEED to think twice to say this was a VERY GOOD * e^3 read!!

It really is a book that can stand the test of time, though all three iterations, it keeps the tone and message: "good web design starts with instinct of the user."

Krug's book focuses on web usability, fundamentals of good design, and user experience testing. Every web designer should get their hands on this as it is a reference for the mind about the mind! give it a go, it will have you thinking differently.
Profile Image for Baba.
3,619 reviews986 followers
June 15, 2020
Subtitled - : A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability... This second edition of what could be considered the definitive book on web design. A must read for both professionals and enthusiasts. 8 out of 12.
Profile Image for Mohamed .
19 reviews
August 2, 2020
a great guideline for anyone who is interested in designing websites and products. full of great examples and clear explanations. BUT the book is a little bit outdated especially the mobile view part.
Profile Image for Graham Herrli.
97 reviews69 followers
December 26, 2012
I was predisposed in favor of this book because it's the most-voted-for on the UX Stack Exchange. It wasn't all I'd hoped it would be. If this were the first text about usability I'd read, I might have gotten more out of it. As it was, the overwhelming majority of the topics presented seemed patently obvious to me.

One thing this book has going for it is its brevity. Before agreeing to publish a second edition, Krug insisted upon first discovering what could be removed from the first edition so that no extra length would be added. Rather than writing about details of debates relevant only to people completely immersed in usability, he aims to convey the most essential concepts of the usability field as briefly as possible. In this he succeeds. The book is a clear introduction to some of the most important principles of the field. However, it glosses over them without going into depth.

Perhaps the most useful part of the book is a transcript of a sample usability test, including what to say and do at the beginning of the test. The introduction says that this chapter was abridged from three chapters in an earlier version of the book and some of the content was moved to Krug's site and expanded upon in a later book, which I am now interested in reading.

Some other (less useful) things this book says are:
Profile Image for Hamidreza Amiri.
30 reviews19 followers
August 20, 2017
این کتاب رو خودم یه نگاهی فقط بهش انداختم اما یکی از دوستان خلاصه���ای رو ازش در اختیارمون گذاشت.
درسته که کتاب نسبتا قدیمی محسوب میشه اما نکات مهمی توش هست و به عنوان لیستی از چیزهایی که باید/نباید رعایت کنیم رو در بهمون میده.
برای شروع یو ایک�� میتونه مفید باشه.
Profile Image for jasmine sun.
139 reviews156 followers
March 31, 2022
realizing i have this problem with ux books where the core principles are all so obvious/intuitive that they feel impossible to retain and apply — perhaps one simply must Learn By Doing
Profile Image for Sandro.
49 reviews
January 16, 2013
What I liked:

- The simple language used to explain normally complex matter;

- The good humour, examples and metaphors the writer uses to explain things. They really work.

Now the bad parts:

- I find the information in the book to be a little too simplistic and common sense. Even for people with only interest on the area of web usability they may find that they already know, or at least thought in a very similar way when they browse daily;

- I understand that this isn't a scientific book and the author does refer to Nielsen a couple of times but all in all the knowledge in this book comes directly from the writer's mind with very little scientific sources to confirm what it's being said;

- Even the second edition is from 2005, almost 8 years have passed and most of the webpage elements he focus on the book, aren't really that used anymore. Still, this isn't the author's fault. Books age and so does the content they possess.
Profile Image for Maitland Gray.
83 reviews
September 2, 2021
“Usability is about people and how they understand and use things, not about technology.”

An essential book for anyone working on websites. The book title is the main point, but Krug does a good job at explaining how to go about doing web usability well. My favorite analogy is treating a website like a well organized store (like Lowes). A person can walk into a store and easily navigate it to accomplish the task at hand. We need to make sure websites are set up to do the same.
Profile Image for Muthazhagu Palanisamy.
15 reviews5 followers
March 28, 2010
This book is what it states - a common sense approach to web usability.

The book lays bare the facts, that -
1. Users do not read the text in a web page.
2. Users muddle through a web page, no matter how well thought out the layout, and menus are.
And as a designer, your task is to take these two facts into account when designing your website.

The author, Steve Krug, is very perceptive. While this is evident throughout the book, what did it for me was the footnote about the Site ID being on the top right corner in web pages with right to left languages, and his comment about inconsistent navigation options in many sites once you are two or three pages deep. The first one is a nice call-out, the second - I've been burnt by it so many times!

The section that talks about how to resolve "design" (people) problems, when members of different teams prefer one design over another, is a life-saver for any Project / Development / Product Manager. It clearly brings the focus back to the problem - are we doing the right thing for the intended users of this website?

The graphic showing what a webpage means to a CEO, Developer, Designer, and Marketing, nails each group's perspective on the head.

The difference between a focus group, and a usability testing team is explained well.

The chapters on usability testing is a must read for all QA teams. The table showing how much it would cost to do "Get it" and task-based usability testing is very concise, and useful. I would recommend taking this no-frills approach; a part of my org's development methodology.

That said, the book is roughly ten years old. The principles, no doubt, still hold good. But, it would be nice to see an updated version that talks about
1. The proliferation of social media, and how to design for that.
2. Web-based Enterprise application UI design.

#2 above is closer to home for me. Type of question that I would like to be tackled - In web based Enterprise apps that specifically deal with a particular vertical (say Insurance), how much can you assume that the user knows about the domain, and consequently, how does that affect your design?

The book is well laid out, and you can see evidence of the author eating his own dog food. The footnotes offer interesting segues (sometimes not about web usability), and the Recommended Reading section is a big plus.

It is an easy read, at a little under 200 pages - no reason your web dev team can't find time to read (and re-read) it!
Profile Image for C.
1,109 reviews1,043 followers
June 7, 2011
An excellent introduction to creating usable websites. As the title states, every website’s design and functionality should be so simple that people barely need to think to use it. The book’s 2nd edition is from 2005, so some examples are dated, but the concepts are quite relevant. This was a fun read due to its straightforward style and Krug’s humor.

When I started looking for web design books, Steve Krug’s classic on web usability frequently appeared at the top of most lists, along with Designing with Web Standards by Jeffrey Zeldman (see my review). I highly recommend both books.

Steve Krug’s Laws of Usability
First Law: Don’t make me think. Make things obvious and self-evident, or at least self-explanatory. People scan; they don’t read. People choose the first reasonable option. People muddle through things rather than figure them out.
Second Law: It doesn't matter how many times I have to click, as long as each click is a mindless, unambiguous choice. Make choices mindless for ease of use.
Third Law: Get rid of half the words on each page, then get rid of half of what's left. Be ruthlessly concise.

Usability testing
Test early and often. Test with 3 or 4 users. Have each user think out loud as they use the site. Use a screen recorder to record the session for reference. Fix any problems, then test again. Review the results as soon as possible.

Additional notes
Navigation helps users find things, tells them where they are, reveals content, and tells how to use the site. It must be good enough to help people who land on any page.
The home page should have a personable, lively tagline conveying a value proposition. The home page also needs a short, scannable welcome blurb describing the site.
Know what people want, and make those things obvious and easy.
Only ask for information necessary to complete the transaction.
Only make a site look good if it’s not at the expense of making it work well.
Profile Image for Louise.
966 reviews294 followers
October 17, 2009
The book was a short, quick and easy read that can easily be finished on a plane ride. It's in full color with a couple of helpful diagrams, but I mostly found the comics in it annoying and patronizing. A lot of what Krug brings up in the first half seems like common sense, but he does delve deeper into some points, which may be helpful for some.

The most valuable information I found in Don't Make Me Think was the little quizzes in the middle of the book where readers are presented with sample websites and asked what was wrong or needed improvement. Krug walks through important aspects of those sites in a clear and concise manner. I wish that more of the book was made up of examples like those.
Profile Image for Melissa.
386 reviews14 followers
May 3, 2018
4.5 stars. I’ve been busy traveling for work and not getting the chance to read as much for fun, but managed to read the update to this timeless reference book for basic website (and now mobile) usability. It’s very basic (and even calls itself out as such), but I think it’s a great introduction to the areas of web and mobile usability and is something anyone who is a fan of well-designed products would enjoy!
Profile Image for Doc.
Author 4 books27 followers
November 9, 2008
Ironic that this book makes the reader think - think about design and views on life, all at once. An excellent book for stimulating the brain to think and view the world in new ways.
Profile Image for Alp Turgut.
405 reviews126 followers
April 13, 2022
Tasarıma yeni başlamış ve başlamak isteyen herkesin mutlaka okuması gereken "Don't Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability", nokta atışı tespitleri ve örnekleriyle harikulade bir başlangıç kitabı. Öte yandan, her ne kadar içerik bakımından günümüze uyarlanmaya çalışılsa da verdiği zaman aşımına uğramış örneklerin özellikle deneyimli tasarımcılar için yararlı olduğunu söylemek pek de mümkün değil. Yine de bilgileri tazeleme veya kendinizi test etme konusunda güzel bir okuma olabilir.

Londra, Birleşik Krallık

Alp Turgut
7 reviews
June 4, 2023
This book was required reading for one of my grad school courses and I’m so glad it was! It’s a fantastic guide for graphic designers. The tone is practical and funny. I like lots of other design books this one was fun to read and I got a lot out of it. Absolutely recommend, especially if you’re new to the industry.
Profile Image for Cicero Marra.
303 reviews15 followers
May 27, 2022
É o livro zero para quem quer gosta dessa área de UX e UI porque trata daquilo que é e vai ser atemporal: o usuário está sempre perdido e quer a interface mais simples e mais familiar possível. Mas não só isso, o livro parece ter sido um dos primeiros a antecipar a importância da prototipagem e acessibilidade, que hoje está na boca de todo mundo.
Profile Image for Mr. Banks.
64 reviews
June 1, 2018
I’ve been working in software for my entire professional career. Except for the past year, I’ve been a backend software engineer for backend code in data platforms, web apps, and operations. Throughout my years as an engineer, I’ve neglected studying design. It’s always been the elusive facet of product development that Ive appreciated, but never come to understand.

I’ve dabbled in different design tools to create sample mockups for products I wished to build, but I always copied what looks good instead of putting design pieces together. This year, I wanted to change my perception of design and learn how a designer thinks when working on a project. To start my journey as an amateur designer, I thought best to begin with the fundamental books about web design. That’s is how I was led to Steve Krug’s book, Don’t Make Me Think.

I started reading it with high hopes. It began with a friendly welcoming attitude to the world of design – a world I had only experienced from the outside. With Krug’s definition of usability, I learned some basic principles that I had only heard vaguely mentioned by colleagues in the past. However, after these abstract principles, I felt the rest of the book wasn’t as helpful as I was expecting.

Written in 2000, but updated in 2013, there were a lot of concepts that have been outdated in today’s web world. The majority of the chapters were written with concrete examples, and while some layout tips might be applicable to today’s modern apps, the rest were artifacts of an older browsing history.

Obviously, rapid changes are extremely difficult to account for when writing a book about the design of the web. Because of this difficulty, it would have been better to have discussed the top usability concepts, rather than specific examples. A great example of this issue is the entire chapter dedicated to the Home page.

Another nit picky problem I had while reading was the unnecessary amount of book recommendations. It’s one thing to source where a concept has come from, but it’s another to introduce the importance of a specific usability application (e.g. font styles and sizes), then spend a few sentences introducing it and instead of summarizing it, recommend an entire book on the subject. I came for a distillation of usability principles and applications, not to build a library of books that I’m never going to get to.

The worst offender was the accessibility chapter. Two of the four recommendations to fix the problem of accessibility was to read an article and another book! That’s not the type of advice I’m looking for when I’m reading a book about usability.

Nonetheless, I did learn a few interesting helpful tips about usability. The chapter on usability testing and DIY testing solidified some high level understandings I had about user testing. There were also multiple instances where I said “ohhh” out loud after learning the “why” behind UX concepts (e.g. goodwill reservoir) that I heard colleagues mention but never clarified.

Unfortunately, these instances were short and far between. Instead, I had to wade streams of light-jokes and quirky writing that got annoying after awhile. Even the random off topic footnotes the author injected got tiresome by the end. I get that he was trying to give the text some mensch, but it wasn’t landing for me.

Overall, this wasn’t the book I was hoping for. I wasn’t trying to get buy in from my manager to perform usability tests. I wasn’t trying to compare UX to usability. Instead, I wanted to learn about some core principles of UX and design that I could use in my daily workflow. I guess I’ll have to keep looking.
Profile Image for Tony.
110 reviews8 followers
October 7, 2011
Books about design need to pass one critical test. They must be well-designed, and this book is. Among the bits of knowledge Krug sprinkles, good web design is like the layout in a big box store, you should be able to look up and find signs that point you in the right direction. There is one crucial different between a brick and mortar store and its online counterpart: if you can’t navigate your way to what you want in a store, you can always ask someone. On the web that’s not possible, so web sites live and die by how easy they are to use.

Here’s an insight: most people think users hate making lots of clicks to find their way to way to what they want. Not true. Users want to know that the search will be fruitful. They also want to find the right links intiatively and they want to be able to retrace their steps quickly if they turn down a wrong alley.

I strongly recommend this book for anyone, novices and experts, who are serious about web design.

My only regret is that I didn’t read this book before I started to develop my company’s portal.
Profile Image for Karen Chung.
391 reviews92 followers
October 2, 2014
In this book, Krug shows you how to make things easy for visitors to your site by making sure everything on it is obvious at a glance and easy to find and get to. And he practices what he preaches - I picked this book in large part because of its clear, attractive, reader-friendly design. It's a quick read, but you may want to take your time on it a bit to make sure you fully register everything he says.

There are applications of what he says far beyond web design. I teach pronunciation, and know that people really don't want to have to grapple with poor pronunciation and incorrect grammar to get at what a speaker actually meant to say. Those who say the listener should do some of the work too are not thinking about how competition for attention and resources works in the real world.

If you have a web site, blog, or any other online presence, I highly recommend you get and read this book NOW!
Profile Image for Jaana.
52 reviews6 followers
May 4, 2019
I can’t believe I hadn’t read this book before. I remember seeing the cover _everywhere_ for a long time but never looked into what it was. Anyhow. It’s about web usability and damn is it good.

It is well written, easy to understand and most things are not surprising at all, but the way they are packaged and presented leaves an impact.

Each paragraph has a short list of things that the reader could easily implement, leaving the feeling that improving is actually easy or at least starting is easy for anyone.

I will not look at web pages or our own product the same ever again.

A good book is usually the one that I “swallow” quickly and that sparks a few ideas. This was a good book and all product managers should read it. At the minimum it will at least confirm many of the things that you are already doing towards good usability but might also spark a few new ideas to level up.
5 reviews11 followers
August 4, 2015
يشرح ستيڤ بشكل بسيط ومرح مفهوم قابلية الاستخدام، الشيء الذي - حسب وصفه - يعتبر بديهي" لذوي التفكير السليم ".
يتمحور الكتاب حول فكرة واحدة، وهي أن “ لا تجعل المستخدم يفكر “، وأهمية كون صفحات الويب تشرح نفسها بنفسها وكيف لهذه الفكرة أن تولّد ثقة المستخدم في الموقع.
يناقش الكتاب أيضا طرق تصفح المستخدمين للمواقع، وحقيقة أنهم لا يقرؤون محتوايتها كلمة كلمة، لكنهم يمرون سريعا - جدا - باحثين عن كلمات مفتاحية ؛ مع ملاحظة أن هذا لا ينطبق على المدونات الشخصية والمواقع الأخبارية - غالبا -.
مع ذلك، فالكتاب - وللأسف - يفتقر إلى كثرة الأمثلة العملية، ولم يتعمق في بعض المسائل، هذا ما يجعله غير مناسب لمن تجاوزت خبرته الـ 3 سنوات في مجال تصميم واجهات المستخدم.

.الكتاب موجه كذلك لوروّاد الأعمال وعامة القراء، وهو مفيد جدا لمن أراد إنشاء أي مشروع إلكتروني
Profile Image for K.M. Weiland.
Author 33 books2,335 followers
October 5, 2014
After this book arrived, I realized it was the first-edition, which I assumed would make it woefully outdated in our fast-moving digital world. Still, I jumped in--and was surprised to discover that almost all of its information remains pertinent and valuable. Granted, many of its examples are of long-outdated sites (including--fascinatingly--Amazon's early days). But it's amazing how the basic principles have changed not at all. I picked up several interesting insights and tips and found the whole read to be quite enjoyable.
Profile Image for Asif.
126 reviews32 followers
August 19, 2019
Amazing book. Written in a casual tone but still hones in on the most important issues of website design. As a non tech person I was amazed by how easily I understood the content.
Profile Image for Irene Jurna.
111 reviews6 followers
June 26, 2023
Als ik mensen vertel over wat ik doe*, vatten ze het meestal samen als: ‘Veel met computers dus.’ Vaak gevolgd door: ‘Ik werk liever met mensen.’**

Maar usability, zoals Steve Krug het omschrijft, is empathisch werk. Het beïnvloedt alle tijd die jij spendeert op een laptop of telefoon; en hoe je je daarbij voelt.

Ik hoop dat ik de ervaringen van internetgebruikers (mensen!) ietsje fijner heb kunnen maken door de principes van ‘Don’t make me think’ toe te passen.

- - -
*Het afgelopen jaar werkte ik in communicatie en volgde daarnaast een studie full stack development.

**Mijn 96-jarige oma reageerde met: ‘Wat is een computer?’ En haalde na mijn verhaal haar schouders op.
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