A UX Report On Don’t Make Me Think By Steve Krug
Don’t make me think is a book that contains a detailed outline on how to make sure you can develop a good user experience for people that use your products.
Usable products are the golden fleece of user experience design, it’s the reason why user experience even exists.
It’s important to note that when designing, you have to consider the following.
Is the product –
Chapter 1 of the book starts off with Krugs first law of usability – Don’t make me think.
It explains how design patterns affect user experience in general. For example a website with too many distracting links and no navigation system would definitely confuse a user and increase the bounce rate of the website.
Call to action buttons should also specify exactly what they do. In essence any design that gives a user at least 3 seconds to think of what to do next is a bad experience. The goal here is to make the platform as easy to use and self explanatory as well.
Chapter 2 covers how users normally use the web. Most users have the attention span of a house fly. The reason they open any website is to achieve a certain goal and move on. They don’t have to to stop to read the content most times. They just glance through the page to find what they are looking for, perform the task they want and either leave happy or disappointed.
This reading pattern is only different on news sites where they have to read certain things to understand what the content is about and even in these sites, some users still glance through.
Chapter 3 covers how to design for scanning, not reading.
When designing its important we
- Make use of conventions
- Create Effective Visual Hierarchies
- Make Clickable Content Obvious
- Eliminate Distractions
- Format Content To Support Scanning
Making use of conventions in this context means that you make use of design patterns that are generally used. For example, a user can see search icon on a button and quickly understand what it does but using another icon there will confuse the user.
Effective visual hierarchies means formatting your content in such a way that the main headline is given more priority that the subcategories below it. For example in web design the H1 tag is bigger than the H2 tag. This pattern continues from H3-H6, giving more priority to the higher header tag.
Also clickable content should be obvious and simple to detect.
You can use a button with a drop shadow or give the link a higher visual hierarchy than the text below it and also higher than the unselected links as it will help the user know his next line of action.
Any content that would distract the user such as text in all caps or blinking text, different fonts and the rest should be totally eliminated.
Formatting text for scanability, simple means you should arrange text in a way that won’t hurt the eyes of the user when scanning. In this case proper spacing is needed and differentiating the headers from the main content is very necessary.
This chapter covers why users like mindless choices.
As a designer you have to understand the fact that your users would never want to think too much about making certain decisions.
For example a page with 3 login buttons for different sections of the site would give the user time to think about which one be should use. However, implementing a design that eliminates this process is the best to improve the overall user experience of your product.
No user wants to think, make your designs self explanatory as possible
This chapter covers the art of not writing for the web. In most designs, some designers fill up spaces on the website with text. Text that nobody will probably read.
It’s important to keep texts on your designs as short as possible. This way you can reduce the noise level of the page, make useful content more prominent and allows users see more of each page at a quick glance without having to scroll.
This chapter covers how to design a good navigation system. It’s important to understand that people won’t be able to use your product if the navigation system is as hard as passing a camel through a needle.
It’s pointless. A navigation structure that is straightforward and self explanatory helps users know where they are currently on the platform and how to move around.
It’s important you make sure your navigation system has
- A sense of direction
- A sense of location
- A sense of scale
In a navigation system, it’s important to have a way to go backward, move forward and go back to the home to start all over again. In some cases you can use breadcrumbs to show the user the pages he passed through to get to the current page and can easily go back to any of them without having to click too many buttons.
The home button gives the user confidence that he can never get lost on the website, besides there’s no place like home. At any time the user can simply click on the home button and start over again. There should also be a way to easily search the website.
Page titles also play a good role in navigation systems. They should describe what the page is about clearly and should not be misleading. If a user clicks a link that is titled Nuts, he expects to see Nuts on the next page or something very related to it. Misleading links and page titles are red flags for any user experience design.
It’s also important to make sure that each page has a title that stands out from the rest of the content to let the user know what page he’s on.
In summary, good navigation system is a very important factor in any UX design.
- Where to start
- What he’s looking for
- What he’s not looking for
Also the user should be able to establish credibility and trust for your platform. Like the adage goes – First impressions matter. Your home page might be the only chance you get to make an impression on your users.
Nothing beats a good tag line. It should be clear and concise. If a user comes into your site, he should be able to point out :
- Where he wants to search
- Where he wants to browse
- Where he can see your best products or services
This chapter relatively covers how most arguments can be a waste of time and how to avoid them.
Most times when designing, most people tend to feel that every internet user uses the web the same way they do so in brainstorming sessions there can be arguments on the best method to implement to solve a particular UX problem.
Designers enjoy pleasant visual experiences while the developers are on the other hand tend to enjoy complexity.
In order to eliminate such problems, instead of asking questions like – “Do most people use this design pattern” , you ask – Does this design pattern provide a good user experience?
This chapter covers how to keep testing simple.
In usability testing it’s important to test at least one person than not testing at all. If you want a great product, usability testing is necessary because most times the only way to find out if your product works as intending is letting other people test it.
Also if possible, conduct tests at each stage of development, this makes it easier to fix usability problems and move on to the next stage than waiting to design the whole platform before testing.
During testing, you outline the top usability problems from each participant then make the changes and test again. Ignore kayak problems when fixing problems.
Kayak problems are when users momentarily go off track but find their way back quickly.
Your Mobile design should be able to achieve the same goal as the desktop version does. In cases where the mobile view cannot do that, there should be a link to let the viewer see the desktop site.
This site should be zoomable and easily navigated from mobile.
Responsive designs are however eliminating the need for having 2 versions of a website dedicated for mobile and web. Apps need to be learnable, memorable and fun to use as well.
This chapter covers why your website should be a mensch. Mensch in this context means a person of integrity.
Every user comes into your website with a reservoir of goodwill and when your website can’t provide what they want, the reservoir quickly turns to frustration.
In a period when competitor websites are just a click away, you should make sure that you don’t lose visitors to the competition.
In order not to lose visitors :
- Don’t hide information they need
- Don’t ask them for information you don’t really need
- Don’t put excessive advertorial content to them
If you can provide an FAQ page, it’ll also improve the user experience as well.
This chapter covers accessibility. When designing, we should also consider users that have disabilities.
For example light shades can’t be seen by color-blind people so if you are making a design that would be used by such people it should have a lot of deep and clear shades.
It’s important to
- Fix the problems that confuse everyone
- Make extensive research on product design
In summary, everything pointed out in this book simply points to better user experience and designing with usability of products in mind.