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

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  4,122 ratings  ·  198 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 an approach to usability testing that anyone can e
Paperback, 161 pages
Published December 1st 2009 by New Riders Publishing
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 ·  4,122 ratings  ·  198 reviews

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Mar 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
..."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)." ...
Beverly Ho
Nov 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
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. ...more
Logesh Paul
Oct 13, 2021 rated it liked it
The Book in 3 Sentences

1. The book is divided into two sections a) Finding usability problems b)Fixing usability problems
2. First section chapters have information related to why, how, and what we need to do for identifying usability problems and the second section chapters tells you how to identify main problems and how to perform small tweaks instead of big redesign.
3. Book helped me acquire knowledge on how to run user recruitment, conduct user testing in-person and remote, how to identify ke
Denise Rolon
Dec 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
So simple and direct - this book is great! I've done usability tests many times before, but I don't do them all that frequently. This book is like a simple cookbook that will remind me of all the important little things I need to do or consider when I do these test. It will be a handy reference for me! Plus, Steve Krug is funny, which is part of what makes his book is a pleasure to read. ...more
Anna Migas
Mar 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
Nicely written but I don't feel that I have learnt anything new. I would recommend it to the begginers, not people who already had a chance to run any usability test in the past. ...more
Jan 08, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, z_2019
Read "Don't make me Think" back when I was first starting and this book is just as good if you're interested in running quick usability tests. I found the chapter on the types of common problems participants have and the chapter on being a therapist to be the most useful in my work life.

A fast read, but were I to start running tests, I'd read it again.
Dec 04, 2021 rated it really liked it
Very solid and easy read with practical tips for conducting usability tests.
Naveen Arun
Sep 29, 2021 rated it liked it
A decent guide on usability testing; super concise, yet somehow everything inside could have been stated in even fewer words. Part of the issue is that the book is a practical guide, in the sense that it literally recommends certain types of software/equipment for conducting usability tests; in 2021 probably 1/3 of the book could've been replaced with the sentence "Use Zoom (with recording on) for onsite and remote usability tests." Another part of the issue is that the book appeared to have an ...more
May 14, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Steve Krug's Don't make me think is obviously there on every design professional and student's must-read books list, just like design of everyday things is. But in my limited experience, no one I know has read "don't make me think". The proverbial motto among designers-this is a ludicrous generalization of course-being "don't make me read". The author is a huge fan of Amazon, and rightly so. Amazon has done a shit ton of usability testing. As an aside, I wish Amazon also did some usability testi ...more
Doug Braun
Aug 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Doug by: Mark Prociw
Shelves: technology
The author takes a very practical and pragmatic approach to actually generate actionable results from a simplified version of usability testing that can be done on any website (even your own website).

Instead of involving a large number of people and consuming resources preparing for, and writing large reports thereafter of all feedback received, etc. -- the approach taken will easily generate the "top 3 issues to be solved" from usability testing done as described in the book.

Later in the book,
Simon Thompson
Sep 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Steve Krug's follow-up to Don't Make Me Think, the go-to recommendation for an introduction to making websites useful and usable, is a similarly bright, light-touch introduction to usability testing.

A lot has passed in the ten years since the book was published, but the fundamental principles hold true that regular testing can improve websites, intranets and other digital tools. Krug argues that this can be done in as little as a morning a month, and buries a lot of useful information in ways th
May 03, 2019 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 04, 2020 rated it liked it
I’m a bit torn on this one. While I really enjoyed “don’t make me think”, this follow up seemed to follow the same pattern too closely.

I often found myself noticing he was repeating himself not only from his previous book, but also repeating points throughout the chapters of this one.

The script was helpful, the maxims were nice, but he should have known focusing on specific software while writing this would badly age certain parts of it.

Since this is just a visual process, I’m not sure why he
Kristen Byers
May 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: hcim-textbooks
I purchased this book for a class before finding out the textbook had changed since the last time the class was offered. Oops. Luckily Steve Krug's writing is easy to read and I figured it would be a good backgrounder before the course despite the fact it's no longer the designated textbook. Some of the references are a little outdated now (10 years might as well be a lifetime in terms of the Internet). Remote testing is also only very briefly mentioned at the very end. I can see why they moved ...more
Milana Stanic
Oct 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: professional
This is a handbook for any kind of user research, if you do not do user research often this is your go-to checklist of what you can do and how to go about it. It is perfect, I read it multiple times and used it during research preparation phase and I cannot imagine not having it near me as it might be a year in between sessions and I am not even going to try remembering everything. It is actually now included in UX master studies on UX design here in Oslo and for a good reason - if you want to g ...more
Seng Wee Wong
Jan 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book is purely about usability testing. Not about rocket science. I have no idea what the author was thinking when he decided to name this book “Rocket Surgery Made Easy...”...! Misleading title.

Albeit the weirdly named title, this book is quite helpful for product managers to conduct their usability testing. This book is highly practical and the author has listed down step by step procedure to conduct a usability test for your software. What to look out for and what not.

This book is quit
Eddie VanArsdall
Kudos for the Companion Book to Don’t Make Me Think

Rocket Surgery Made Easy is an excellent resource for anyone who facilitates usability testing.

Steve Krug outlines all of the steps, from preparation to execution. He covers variations in the process, whether you are leading testing in the same room as the participant or by remote access. Steve also recommends online facilitation tools such as Go to Meeting and capture tools such as Camtasia.

Not only is this book a must-have; it’s a great read
Nov 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: design
Reading this book felt like attending an intense two day workshop of usability testing.
Real life examples, step by step plan of how to plan testings, how to conduct them, how to talk to people and what conclusions to make. I am a beginner in this field and did find so much new and useful information in this book!

The only problem I found with this book is that it can get outdated quite fast and it would be nice to see updated materials in the Chapter 15 Overachiever reading list and in Chapter 2
Jun 10, 2021 rated it really liked it
This is an easy book to digest - only 150+ pages and I was able to finish it in a few hours (plus fonts are bigger and have cartoon illustrations, making it more like a longer blog rather than a book). I only realized when I started to read it, that this book was written in 2010. Nevertheless, the classic User Testing method didn't change that much and I still agree on the method of doing frequent user testing (Steve suggested 3 people every month in a routine with observers in a diff room etc.) ...more
Alberts Pumpurs
Jan 05, 2019 rated it did not like it
This should be called Usability for supper dummies. A basic book that can be written in less than one A4 page. Unless testing and usability is something that you haven't heard before in your life and have almost no idea what it is - skip this book and don't waste your time. If you know a very, very bit of conducting any kinds of interviews and know a little of usability meaning - skip this book and get something that provides a more knowledge. ...more
Mar 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: work-stuff
It is exactly what it says it is. Great starting point for anyone starting research. If you have no experience and probably are a engineer or designer or product creator - this is a great starting book to getting your end user feedback. And fixing the website or app accordingly.

I just wish there is more about interpreting results and developing solution. Probably that is experience level. This is great for collecting problems to improve upon.
Jan 17, 2020 rated it liked it
My edition was older, so many of the recommendations in it for specific software or book editions could be improved. As a book, it has some pretty good recommendations about the logistics of user testing, but it was lacking in terms depth generally, such as understanding existing user or tester biases. If you've never tested a user before, but want to set up something structured, this isn't a terrible place to start. But if you're looking to understand testing in depth, go elsewhere. ...more
Norbert Boros
Mar 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ux
Somehow I missed this usability classic book (although I started my UX "career" more than 10 years ago with Steve Krug's other classic, the "don't make me think").

Even I did many usability tests in the last years but I could learn some new ideas and tips that are useful in the day-to-day UX work. So for both beginners and senior UX/product design practitioners are a great choice to learn about usability testing in a very understandable and practical way.
Jan 12, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: junior UX Designer, junior UX Reseacher
Shelves: nonfiction, design
I read the book more out of sentiment for Steve Krug, had it on my list for a long time.

A definite book – just like the previous one – lightly written, with the author's characteristic touch of humor. It is pleasant and quick to read.

I recommend it to every beginner UX Designer as a complement to ”Don't make me think“.
If you're an advanced designer and have already done some research, you're unlikely to learn anything new from this book.
Oct 19, 2021 rated it really liked it
Instructional book for conducting quick and simple usability tests. Bonus points for Krug's candid honesty and self-deprecating humor.

Krug's "maxims" are the following:
- A morning a month, that's all we ask.
- Start earlier than you think makes sense.
- Recruit loosely and grade on a curve.
- Make it a spectator sport.
- Focus ruthlessly on a small number of the most important problem.
- When fixing problems, always do the least you can do.
Jenny GB
May 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book is a great how-to for usability testing, but overall I didn't feel it added a whole lot more than Don't Make Me Think. Unless you're going to actually run usability testing for your company and you need a more detailed guide, you can probably skip this book. If you want an overview of the concept, read Don't Make Me Think. ...more
Jean-Francois Potvin
Aug 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Real easy to read, consistent with Don't Make Me Think.

Will start doing some usability testing very soon. I am really excited about the potential and pumped to make it a monthly rendez vous. Even thinking about signing up as a participant (not a test subject) ;-) on user testing web services to try the experience.

Thanks for all the tips Steve!
Jan 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: guides, ux-ui
Quick, easy read filled with valuable and practical information. Great for reference to come back to when you need a refresh on user testing and great starting point for anyone new to finding and fixing usability problems. Steve offers some useful resources you can download too - forms, testing scripts, etc.
Jun 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
I wish I had read this book about a year ago when we started with do-it-yourself usability testing. We've invented most of the stuff in the book on our own and our methods are surprisingly similar. We even use the same microphone as the one mentioned in the book! But there are still some useful tips and tricks we can use to improve our process. ...more
Aug 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is PERFECT for amateur usability testers, or anyway people who want to become that for their organization. I feel like this book is perrrrrfect for librarians who want to test but don't know where to start. This book will literally get you through every step, including the debrief. Highly recommended for beginners! ...more
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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 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

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