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on 8 February 2010
If you want to find and fix usability problems in your web site, the bad news is that finding them on your own is extremely difficult. You'll overlook massive show-stoppers because you know how the site is meant to work.

The good news is that usability testing, getting someone else to use your web site while you watch them, is very easy and extremely informative.

In this short, encouraging book, Steve Krug explains what you have to do in his wonderfully approachable style. In Don't Make Me Think!: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability, he zeroed on in the really important points about web site usability. In this new book, he's done it again with usability testing. It's boiled down to the essence of an approach that anyone could use, in 'a morning a month'.

Steve does not claim that this is a comprehensive manual for how to do any type of usability test. For that, he includes recommendations for further reading, such as Handbook of Usability Testing: How to Plan, Design, and Conduct Effective Tests.

Not does he claim that his method is full-on, professional testing. In fact, he says: "If you can afford to hire a usability professional to do your testing for you, do it".

This book is for anyone who wants to make sure that their web site is easy to use, but doesn't have the budget for a professional.

Having said that, I am a usability consultant and I still found it worthwhile to read this book. If you've struggled to get clients to make the changes that you know are necessary, then here's an opportunity to pick up some ideas.

(Disclosure: Steve wrote the foreword to my book Forms that Work: Designing Web Forms for Usability (Interactive Technologies))
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on 3 January 2010
Having read Don't Make Me Think some time ago, I've been eagerly awaiting this 'how to' book and have had it on pre-order for a while. It was worth the wait. Having read it in a matter of hours I think any website owner, manager, designer or developer would find it an interesting and informative read.

This book explains what you can gain from regular usability testing and shows you step-by-step exactly how to facilitate usability testing and collate the results into an action plan. You don't need a load of fancy, expensive equipment or programming skills and Mr Krug usefully includes all the scripts (narrative not programming) you need to conduct your testing. He also covers how to: conduct debriefing meetings, manage the fixing of problems, get buy-in from stakeholders and potential pitfalls and how to avoid them.

Really all you need to start your own usability testing is this book and the skills to organise a meeting - the book tells you what to do at what time point so it really is a case of following the instructions. I particulalry like the short, to the point chapters and as with Don't Make Me Think!: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability the design layout makes it super-easy to use with decent sized type broken down into manageable chunks.
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on 6 February 2010
A good introduction to interface usability tests. It succeeds in making you understand how this kind of tests, although not necessarily expensive, can dramatically improve user experience suggesting just minor interface tweaks.
The book gives you little more than a general idea, scratching only the surface, but it gives you enough to conduct your own tests, conveys confidence in their usefulness and gives you a list of other sources to expand your knowledge.
The examples are all about web interfaces but the very same principles are easily applied to desktop or mobile applications.
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on 7 September 2012
Steve Krug's usability testing methodology does for usability testing what James Bach's Rapid Software Testing methodology does for other types of software testing. That is, it assumes that:

1. You have some version of a website or web application that can be tested (even if only a wireframe or prototype).

2. You have limited time for testing.

3. It's better to do some testing that will find important problems fast than to plan a big test that could yield statistically significant results and find many problems but that won't actually get run.

It further assumes that you are not a usability professional and cannot afford to hire one but that you can do good enough testing yourself if given some practical instruction. This book, supported by the video on the companion website, provides that practical instruction.

Here you will find out what to do at every step, from recruiting test subjects through to debriefing, and how much time to spend on each activity. If you have never facilitated or observed a usability test, you will additionally get a sense of what it's like to do usability testing.

The book is well written, being concise and precise. Furthermore, the pages are attractively designed and illustrated, making this a book that's nice to hold as well as one that's useful to have. (This review relates to the paperback edition, obviously.)
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on 23 June 2016
Tremendous actionable advice. This entire book is all killer and no filler. You feel like some authors might have made this book 5 times longer and repeated themselves or padded it out but not this. It's small but you know you've learned something at the end of it.
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on 8 January 2010
I have to admit that I bought this book thinking on something quite different.
The title led me to think that this was a guide on how to recognize "by yourself" (no users, no usability tests, just heuristic evaluation -or, at least, also heuristic evaluation-) some common usability problems and I also believed that it was going to provide a set of common, fast, effective and low-cost solutions to them. (Quite funny thing a misleading title for a usability book, anyway)
I soon realized that I was wrong, because it is only on usability tests with users. You won't find any solution in this book, just a nice guide on how to recruit participants, prepare and run the tests.

In my opinion this is not a book for professionals, anyway.
Like "Don't make me think", it does not go too deep into the matter. It is not bad, there are a lot of very useful tips there but it rather seems a "usability tests for dummies" guide.
Those who need to go deep into the matter of usability testing (and have enough time to study it) should probably buy "Handbook of usability testing" by Rubin Chisnell
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on 22 January 2010
This is an excellent book, the follow up to his "Don't Make me Think" which gave us several simple benchmarks which we try to adhere to when designing any website. This book shows you how to test your website - on your own - simply and cheaply, and if it does nothing else for you other than persuade you to start testing your webpages, then it's worth 10 times the cost of the book. Just buy it, read it over a weekend, and feel as if you've been handed a machine-gun in a room full of enemies armed with only feathers.
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on 21 July 2015
Krug writes for real people, whether they're Usability experts or not. He offers advice that is possible for anyone with some aptitude for the subject to follow. Any organisation that wants to improve their UX and doesn't know where to begin should start here. The book is un-dauntingly short, but covers plenty of subject matter. It's written without jargon and is very informal. It's very easy to read and makes you feel like you can do it - I'm not sure there's anything more important than that when you're getting started.
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on 19 February 2010
A great companion to Steve's previous book - Don't Make Me Think.
This expands on the 3 chapters in the original edition of DMMT, and then some.

I've run usability testing sessions for 8 years and found it an easy read which I am now recommending to colleagues beginning to run their own tests.

If you're looking for an introduction to usability as a whole though, DMMT is the better option.
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on 23 October 2015
If you're doing any sort of product development and you're not doing customer research yet, you should read this. It's fairly short, very readable and gives a great introduction to something that should be a part of every project.
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