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on 28 August 2008
First things first.. this is not a book for web designers, graphic artists, developers or anyone who actually has to do these sorts of tasks for a living (or even for a hobby, for that matter). You will not learn anything from this book that you don't already know and, in fact, there is some stuff in here that I think it would be better off NOT knowing, particularly some of the garishly coloured and clustered monstrosities that are heralded as examples of good design.

The only people who would find this book useful are management-types and marketing people... the kind of people who really should stick to pushing pens and emailing rather than getting involved in the dirty work of designing and developing a succesful website. This book could do a lot of damage in terms of giving delusions of grandeur to these sorts of people!

Much of the advice given in the book is out of date, and many of the example websites are now either not there or have been altered to the extreme. On a posative note, this book does state the obvious to quite a phenominal level and I suppose there may be some people to whom this may be of benefit.

Personally, i'd reccomend any web proffesionals who are thinking of buying this book to stay the heck away!! If you're a manager/marketing person or someone who needs to create the illusion that you know what you're talking about when asked to comment on a website, then this book may be of benefit.


I wrote this review when I was much younger and a little less experienced (have left original text above). I found the book again while I was moving house and decided to give it a re-read, having since had two and a half years working in a fairly intense e-commerce environment.

I had previously not seen the need for a book like this, given that (and I stand by my original point) much of what is said is very obvious stuff. What I didn't consider is that maybe it isn't obvious to everyone.

What I have discovered is that the need to justify the obvious stuff does still exist. Particularly in environments where marketing teams are trying to design by committee and pulling projects every way they can, it is pretty handy to have a book to lean back on and say "look, this guy is an expert, and he says you are wrong".

It is a nice read for web professionals in these kinds of environments because reading the words of someone who completely agrees with you can be a great comfort if you're surrounded by people who don't. I cannot deny that on re-read, with thicker skin, I agree with almost every word Krug says.
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on 8 April 2009
Steve Krug covers many aspects of usability in an accessible, light-hearted and easy to read way.

It must be said, though, that Krug's idea of usability is usability for Americans. He assumes we all come from the same place, speak the same language, use the same language scripts and so on. He dismisses web forms in a couple of sentences and international web site users in even fewer. In terms of international viewers of web sites, some of his advice is downright damaging.

Read this as an introduction to usability, but look further too - otherwise we will never be rid of the scourge of the required "State" field in forms ...
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on 12 September 2014
Although very well presented on quality paper, this book could easily be summarized in a dozen pages without losing any important recommendation.

In three points: (i) display your content hierarchically (make key information stand out), (ii) make possible user interactions obvious and, (iii) get user feedback early in the development process. This is a bit weak to justify a £20 book in my opinion.

After 20 years of Internet, not all web sites are now made of pages, menus and links. We now have web applications like online games, web office automation (Google Gmail and Docs) and stock trading sites which have very complex UI.

This book does not even scratch the surface regarding forms, feedback about errors, UI design patterns and complex widgets (treeviews, paginated grids, popup windows, interactive charts, shopping carts, ad display, social widgets, ...).

The new chapter about mobile devices is a joke (screen real estate = compromise, thank you for such invaluable insight). Common sense is not always obvious and trivial. Promising and disappointing.
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on 18 June 2017
As important and vital as ever. The website designs in this book may have dated, but the common sense summation of the importance of UX never will, and it's just as vital as ever.

It's funny reading through the 1-star reviews here. They're written by people who don't get it. They may understand the text (except those who think it's about design, I don't know what they were reading), they may understand UX, but they don't get why this book is so important. It's true that you can "get" this book very quickly. Indeed the title alone can tell someone savvy enough all they need to know, but this book is for professionals. Which means it's for people who work as part of a team, usually with superiors and/or clients. In a professional environment, not everyone in your team is going to know the concepts of UX... but that won't stop them having an opinion. An opinion you may have to try and disagree with.

In reality (and unfortunately), when you're working on a website, you're going to get drawn into conversations about what looks best. That's what everyone is more than likely going to be focussed on (including, in an especially bad situation, your boss, or worse, the designer).

But websites are not static planes of information, like a movie poster or a TV advert. They're interactive. This means your user is going to have a goal they want to achieve. Whether it be getting information on your company, sending you an email, or finding your opening hours. They're not passively admiring your design, they want to get something from your site, and they want it quickly. And you want them to get it (it's why you built it in the first place), and yet that important requirement is often thrown to the backburner for the sake of something like design.

A beautiful website is a wonderful thing, but it's nothing if the user can't find what they're looking for.

This book helps bring everyone in your company onto the same page by explaining, in clear and basic terms, why your focus should always be on user experience. So the next time you're in a meeting and the client says, "wouldn't it be cool if our new website was an interactive 3D model of our office, and the user could walk around it, and each room is something different?", you can say, "No! And please read this book to see why."

They may listen to you, they may not (they didn't when it happened to me), but this book is a godsend for aligning thinking towards what's actually important. You won't win every battle, but it will win you some allies.
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on 12 June 2011
i saw this on a book shelf in Barnes & Nobles in the US but the price was $40 or something, but i also looked at the publish date as I do, it was early 2011 and I tend to only buy this years books (note in November 2010 i saw books with published 2011 in them so obviously publishers consider this important in technical books) however, it must have been my imagination as this book is 2005 or something.

Either way, it took my fancy in the book store mainly because of the illustration on page 126 of the 4 different ways people in an organisation want their site. However, this book is pretty dissapointing really. The fundementals are there, but its 11 years out of date!!! And it really shows. For example he does a walk through of one of his favorite sites, E-Tours which FELL VICTIM TO THE WEB CRASH 2001 JUST AFTER HE WROTE THE BOOK. Its like taking a time machine back to when the internet was designed by 5 year olds with crayons. The whole book revolves around considerations based on the way the internet was in 2000.

He makes constant reference to the evolution of the amazon navigation system which has now changed completly from what he reffers to, and countless other antiquated sites.

He talks about drop downs like they were what they were, with no reference or consideration to mega menus or anything.

Its ironic as the book made me think. It left me think whether it was worth buying.

However, I did anticipate this and took the precaution to buy two other books on the topic at the same time, Undercover User Experience Design and About Face. It did this as I always look at the publish date first in a book and knew that 2006 would not cut the mustard BUT that the book is constantly reffered to as the bible. I brought three books as I wanted to get a balanced AND up to date grasp on this area.

That said, it is an ok book, one of its strengths being its illustrated nature (its achilles heel) so its sort of worth 'having read' as you would a classic (just brought PROPOGANDA by Ed Bernias) but this is not a good book anymore for people looking to be at the cutting edge, as I do.

Im looking for ways to leverage the HERE AND NOW of CSS3 and HTML5 and User Experience. I subscribe to dot net and web designer mags and UX is constantly being pushed as the latest thing and so instead of relying on magazine articles i wanted to invest in books to give me a solid background for going forward. In this context Steve Krug doesnt really offer me much to be honest. Its out of dateness is just too much of a compromise.

However, many of the principals he deals with are still very valid and poignent. Things I picked up on, but already knew, but just hadnt seen it spelt out was that people dont read web sites they scan them. His perceptions that surfers dont think they just take what looks like the best route (firefighters) and the issues relating to stakeholders and the front page. Its all good stuff, and good to reffer to so its worth buying.

My advise, only buy this if you are ok dealing with backward time travel. Its as relevent as David Brewsters guide to taking photos with the pin hole camera. Interesting, with lots of good advice, but better placed in another century.
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on 1 April 2014
This book is my absolute bible: I have all 3 editions and recommend it continually: and the people I loan it to end up buying 3 copies themselves: 1 to keep - 1 to give to the people who report to them and 1 to give to their manager.

It is the best argument and proof of why you need to make your website answer your customers concerns - and not your own: it shows how people just Do Not Care about your company - it's organisation, or anything else - except the task they came to your site to complete. If you distract them from that task or annoy them or make them think about something that is not their key task they will leave. And never return.

So: the single best acid test to find out if a web designer will create a site that will answer your customers requirements and help them accomplish their tasks is to ask if they have a copy of this book. If they don't - they might well create a pretty site... - but in my universal experience it will fail.
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on 30 November 2001
This is a really refreshing book. Krug analyses web users' surfing habits with uncanny accuracy and points out things that are so obvious, they are so easy to disregard.
For once, this is a book that attempts to analyse great sites with minor flaws, rather than smugly 'putting the boot in' on poorly designed sites as other 'experts' often delight in.
As a Web Manager, this is a book that will be the cornerstone of subsequent projects our team take on.
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on 29 June 2011
What comes to your mind when you think about usability in web design? "Less clicks is better"? "Design to the average user"? "Content is king"? "Users leave your website if it doesn't load in X seconds"? If you take any of these as a rule for your websites then you need to read this book: Don't Make Me Think, by Steve Krug.

The Book

Although usability is becoming more and more popular among web projects these days, it is still an underrated feature. In this book, Steve Krug explains usability in a fun and direct way, using illustrations to mimic real life situations in which we all have been before. The examples and the websites featured in this book are a little outdated - the first edition was released in 2000 - but the problems are still around only with a modern design.

Myths and Tips

Every chapter contains precious gems and "facts of life" (as the author says) that show us how we really use websites. One example is the fact that he explains how we scan pages instead of reading them, and how this makes "content is king" a myth. Speaking about content, Steve Krug advices us to get rid of half the words on each page, then get rid of half of what's left. This may sound weird, specially under a SEO point of view, but if you think again, by doing this you will end up having only the essential content (or keywords), the one that matters to your user.


Don't let the fact that the book was originally written the year 2000 put you off. As I said before, we still face the same issues today. In 2005 was released the second version of this book which has three new chapters, including one where he talks about CSS & web usability and another one - one of the best IMHO - where he advices us on how to answer to our bosses when they have bad ideas. If you're still wondering if buying the book is a good idea or not, the fact that it is recommended by Jeffrey Zeldman should be enough for you to buy it!
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on 15 February 2001
Usability is a very simple, very complex subject that's clouded in argument and emotion. It is also the most important issue facing the development of the web.
It needs to be made accessible to the millions of practitioners trying to work out how to do good stuff.
"Don't Make Me Think" simply gets it absolutely right. I cannot recommend the book enough. It is simply written and deliciously presented, research evidence is relevant, succinct and interesting. It's a joy : )b
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on 15 April 2003
Its chatty, anecdotal and practical style never strays from the point. The result is a smart run through the basic rules of presenting information, choices and navigation on the Web.
I would say it's not guide for creating designer sites, but that's not to say you shouldn't have a copy. A web-designer should know about presentation and so on, so that rules are broken *for a reason*. And this easy-reader guides you through just about all those rules in a memorable way. Remember: nothing makes for worse websites than designers who don't know what they're doing trying to break what they think of as the rules.
So, why not get this book? It's one slot on the bookshelf that doesn't need to be filled with a difficult to read tome from dullville.
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