In our everyday life we are unknowingly overwhelmed by information. The quantity has become so important that human beings developed a natural ability of very quickly deciding to accept (and consider) or reject the information in question without making any effort. Information can mean anything going from seeing a car on the street to an ad in a health magazine.
For marketing and especially digital marketing this means that getting people’s attention is a hard task to achieve. As an simplistic example, considering an advertisement, it is no longer enough to put the name of a new product somewhere on the right side of an e-newspaper; if we want it to be successful, it has to be designed in an very outstanding way to raise the chance that the customer will actually start thinking about it (and maybe buy it later on).
Similarly, given the high availability of websites, the information a user will gather on a badly structured website is very low and the chance to revisit this website is even lower. With “Don’t Make me think” Krug explains that the average user will simply not make the effort to try to understand a poorly designed website but will rather switch to another better designed one because it requires less effort. This is where the “usability”, the main topic of the book, proofs its importance.
My biggest takeaway from Krug’s Book is certainly the idea that a webpage should be self-explanatory. I even think that if a user has difficulties getting along on a website about a specific electronic device, it might give him the impression that the device itself may be difficult to use.
The three facts of life:
- “We don’t read pages. We scan them.”
- “We don’t make optimal choices. We satisfice.”
- “We don’t figure out how things work. We muddle through.”
certainly apply to me. I would say this behavior is quite common among web-surfers and the tendency is even going to increase in the near future. Those three facts became like habits and most of the time we are not even aware that we behave like that.
Krug focuses a lot on conventions. Indeed, a structure we are familiar with will allow us to think less, go more rapidly through the website and feel more comfortable even if it is our first visit.
To me the example “NAV for Windows 95/98” with the pull-down menu was quite interesting. As said in the book, not everyone knows what NAV stands for and “what if I use Windows 95”? Is it correct to select “Windows 95/98”? Especially less experienced users will struggle with this kind of decisions and there is no reason why Norton couldn’t make a different option for each operating system (one for 95 and one for 98).
I had to laugh when I read Krug’s way of explaining where to remove needless words!! He’s certainly right that when filling out a survey you don’t need somebody telling you a huge introduction story!! To put it in a context of digital marketing, I would say that if the user sees that the website doesn’t write unnecessary “blah blah blah…” it gives him the impression that the company is taking him more serious. This as a result increases the relationship between the customer and the website/the brand/the product.
The examples in the book about the navigation are very realistic and therefore easy to understand. I am more a person of browsing through a website than using the search box. Why? Simply because the search engine on websites are often very poorly programmed and it takes me more time to go through the hundreds of results than trying to find the right product in the hierarchy. (Unless they use the Google engine applied to their homepage, but you not always know that in advance). But, a click on the name of the page should definitely bring you to the Homepage, Amazon-style tabs and “You are here” indicators are mandatory. They somehow became conventions and their absence decreases our good will right from the beginning.
When I just surf around the web and come across websites I don’t know (unless I am redirected from Google regarding a specific search criterion) I would say that I leave the page in 80 % of the cases if I can’t get the big picture quick enough. In addition, a name, a tagline and to know where to start are essential features.
Something I didn’t know (but is seemed quite logical to me after I read it) is that it is better to do testing with one user at the beginning stage than having fifty testing users at the end of the project. This was probably my second biggest takeaway from the book. Also the tendency of adding an explanatory sentence as soon as the testing user is in trouble instead of removing some obscurity was something I didn’t think about before.
Putting somebody’s goodwill in form of a reservoir is a very original idea, people should keep it in mind when they build a website. It can drastically change the amount of time spend on a website and increase the probably that the customer will come back.
The use of CSS especially nowadays to make the font bigger or have a printer friendly version available will undoubtfully add value to a website.
The analysis made what could happen when to much information is asked ( keeping you from getting real data, get fewer completed forms and makes you look bad) is certainly something I’ll keep in mind and take very seriously should I ever be a testing user or have influence on the website of the company I am going to work for.
Overall the author made a big effort in trying to focus only on the most important aspects regarding usability and the “Don’t make me think” explications. The way the book is written and designed (with the helpful graphics) is a proof in itself!