Dont make me thin

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Don’t Make Me Think!
a common sense approach to web usability
SECOND EDITION

Steve Krug

New Riders Publishing
Berkeley, California USA

Don't Make Me Think! A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability, Second Edition
© 2006 Steve Krug
New Riders
1249 Eighth Street
Berkeley, CA 94710
510/524-2178
800/283-9444
510/524-2221 (fax)
Find us on the Web at www.peachpit.com
To reporterrors, please send a note to errata@peachpit.com
New Riders is an imprint of Peachpit, a division of Pearson Education.
Editor: Karen Whitehouse
Production Editor: Lisa Brazieal
Interior Design and Composition: Allison D. Cecil
Illustrations by Mark Matcho
Farnham fonts provided by The Font Bureau, Inc. (www.fontbureau.com)
Notice of Rights
All rights reserved. No part of this book may bereproduced or transmitted in any form by any
means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior
written permission of the publisher. For information on getting permission for reprints and
excerpts, contact permissions@peachpit.com.
Notice of Liability
The information in this book is distributed on an “As Is” basis, without warranty. While every
precautionhas been taken in the preparation of the book, neither the author nor Peachpit shall
have any liability to any person or entity with respect to any loss or damage caused or alleged to
be caused directly or indirectly by the instructions contained in this book or by the computer
software and hardware products described in it.
Trademarks
Throughout this book, trademarks are used. Rather thanput a trademark symbol in every
occurrence of a trademarked name, we state that we are using the names in an editorial fashion
only and to the benefit of the trademark owner with no intention of infringement of the
trademark. No such use, or the use of any trade name is intended to convey endorsement or
other affiliation with this book.
ISBN 0-321-34475-8
9
Printed and bound in the UnitedStates of America

[ ii ]

First Edition
To my father, who always
wanted me to write a book,
My mother, who always
made me feel like I could,
Melanie, who married me—the
greatest stroke of good fortune of my life,
and my son Harry, who will surely
write books much better than this one
whenever he wants to.

Second Edition
To my big brother, Phil,
who was a mensch his whole life.[ iii ]

contents

P R E FAC E

About the Second Edition

F O R E WO R D

By Roger Black

I N T RO D U C T I O N

Read me first

vi
xii
2

Throat clearing and disclaimers

guiding principles
CHAPTER 1

Don’t make me think!

10

Krug’s First Law of Usability

CHAPTER 2

How we really use the Web

20

Scanning, satisficing, and muddling through

CHAPTER 3Billboard Design 101

30

Designing pages for scanning, not reading

CHAPTER 4

Animal, vegetable, or mineral?

40

Why users like mindless choices

CHAPTER 5

Omit needless words

44

The art of not writing for the Web

things you need to get right
CHAPTER 6

Street signs and Breadcrumbs
Designing navigation

[ iv ]

50

co n t e n t s

CHAPTER 7

The firststep in recovery is admitting that
the Home page is beyond your control

94

Designing the Home page

making sure you got them right
CHAPTER 8

“The Farmer and the Cowman
Should Be Friends”

122

Why most Web design team arguments about usability are a waste of
time, and how to avoid them

CHAPTER 9

Usability testing on 10 cents a day

130

Why user testing—done simplyenough—is the cure
for all your site’s ills

larger concerns and outside influences
CHAPTER 10

Usability as common courtesy

160

Why your Web site should be a mensch

CHAPTER 11

Accessibility, Cascading Style Sheets, and you 168
Just when you think you’re done, a cat
floats by with buttered toast strapped to its back

CHAPTER 12

Help! My boss wants me to ________.

180...
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