Over the years, several books have explored how to optimize the user experience (UX) of digital products. Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug is a true masterpiece on the subject. The author, a long-time UX professional, deconstructs the interaction between people and machines in an elegant and simple manner. And we’re not joking about the simple part—the 191 pages fly by before you know it. The author opted to combine illustrations with text that is easy to read and understand, which also happens to be the ultimate goal when creating an optimized UX.
What does it all mean?
The first lesson relates to the title of the book: Don’t Make Me Think. In other words, the design of a page, an application or anything that is intended to convey information to a person must be simple and clear. In that respect, Steve Krug echoes the philosophy in The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman but applies it to digital instead. Another lesson is that sites should be designed for quick consumption. Think of reading books or articles diagonally to get a general idea without needing to look at them more carefully. To achieve this, the author suggests prioritizing the visual elements so that the user instantly understands what’s important and what’s not. Don’t Make Me Think shows the extent to which UX design flaws can cause users to waste time in a clumsy and frustrating manner. People are spoiled for choice when it comes to the sites and apps they use. One lesson that can be learned from the book is not to make it complicated when sharing the information they’re looking for. Create value and make navigation easy. If you don’t, your digital product won’t be as relevant.
Inspirational quotes from the book
“Your primary role should be to share what you know, not to tell people how things should be done.”
“As a user, I should never have to devote a millisecond of thought to whether things are clickable—or not.”
“What works is good, integrated design that fills a need—carefully thought out, well executed, and tested.”
“Your objective should always be to eliminate instructions entirely by making everything self-explanatory, or as close to it as possible. When instructions are absolutely necessary, cut them back to a bare minimum.”
Who should read Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug?
Anyone who has any type of interest in the digital world should read this book. The lessons about optimizing UX are of value for interface designers, developers, product owners, project managers—you name it. As Leonardo da Vinci once said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” And that’s the general idea of this book.
A look back at a lively Town Hall