I recently finished reading Steve Krug’s “Don’t Make Me Think,” a short book about web usability. I read Krug’s latest edition of his book, which included 13 chapters of updated information and also covered mobile usability. Written in an informal manner with humor throughout, the book is engaging and enjoyable. While usability is typically not a fun topic, it proved to be a read I would highly recommend to anyone, with technology being so prevalent these days. As a millennial and someone who has grown up with Google, being that I just turned 22 and Google recently celebrated its 21st anniversary, this book was very interesting to read. The earliest recollection I have of the internet is AOL dial-up, but still being able to go online. With that being said, most websites I have a strong memory of do not appear as old as the book describes; however, as someone who does use the internet consistently, the book was still very relatable.
I have experienced a lot of the same frustrations that usability works to eliminate. Often times, I find myself scanning pages like Krug mentions. We live in a world where people want and expect information instantly, and I am constantly doing the same. When visiting a website, I almost always have a specific purpose. Krug used an example of people blurring out everything on the site except for what they are looking for, and I think that is very accurate. I also think that is one of the most important parts to take into consideration when building your own website. By making different pages, links or tabs extremely clear and leaving “a bread trail” to make sure visitors can find the one thing they are looking for, that can make all the difference. If people are unable to find information and or are confused by the site, the site did not serve its purpose.
I also can relate to the mini mental conversations Krug discusses. Often times when I visit a website if I am confused by different wording or links, I will process in my head the different options and what they mean; however, after doing this multiple times on the same site, this can become frustrating and lead myself or any visitor to leave the site. Hence, the site did not serve its purpose. Therefore, keeping consistency and a clear path on how to access different information is key in building a website. Along with this, I think using the same universal symbols Krug discusses such as the play icon on a video or the magnifying glass for a search bar is crucial. Those symbols are easily recognizable and help make the visitor feel comfortable when using the site.
I thoroughly enjoyed this quick, informative read and look forward to improving my own website by focusing on keeping my website purpose oriented, creating a navigational trail, using clear, universal symbols and being accessibly friendly. The book opened my eyes to an entire new field; I visit websites every day, but I had never stopped to consider professionals testing the actual usability of the sites! Follow the link below to read for yourself about how your website visits are analyzed: