Megan Leigh McDonald
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'Don't make me think.' Steve Krug

Megan Leigh McDonald

Steve Krug’s “Don’t Make Me Think” (again)

Steve Krug's Don't Make Me ThinkSo once in awhile I pick up a standby classic and re-read it just to see if I understand the material in a new way. I have to say most of Steve’s book is awesome stuff, things that I picked up in bits and pieces from seminars, classes and other books and papers. The great part of his book is that he brought all those bits and pieces into one place. He makes really good points. The bit about taking information out of the page is something that really struck me this time and coincides with current work. The best solution to making things stand out sometimes is not adding to the page but taking away. In the trenches it’s not always easy to see that we’re just moving some information from one pile and into an even bigger pile of information. It’s too much like cleaning your apartment by moving it all into the closet. Sooner or later, someone’s going to open it and file an insurance claim you.

But enough of metaphors. The most valuable part of this book for me at this point in time though is the very end in the chapters about testing. Focus groups and ‘garage sale’ usability tests are relatively new to me. As a UE Designer in my current position, I participated in a formal focus group of our products last year. It reminded me of my grad school days and the scientific way I approached the business of design back then before getting thrown into the ‘real world’. Focus groups carry an inherent academic slant to them and sometimes convincing people in business of their worth is an obstacle.

I was overjoyed then to be able to participate in two more rounds of informal, internal usability sessions that followed. The last few chapters of Steve Krug’s book are like a recipe for getting some interesting exploratory research results for very little money and relatively little effort. It’s amazing that more people don’t conduct these. It definitely makes me crave to either set more of these up at work and of course will be a deciding factor in any new positions I consider in the future. It actually makes me interested in possibilities within usability research firms themselves. I’ll have to explore more on the Internet about companies like this. It appeals to my academic side. I have urges to dig up my old publications from graduate school.

At any rate, Steve Krug’s book “Don’t Make Me Think” always makes me think…hmmm, I wonder if he read this blog, would he be slapping his forehead right now?

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