a common sense approach to web usability SECOND EDITION
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 report errors,please send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org 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 be reproduced ortransmitted 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 email@example.com. Notice of Liability The information in this book is distributed on an “As Is” basis, without warranty. While every precaution has been taken in thepreparation 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 than put a trademark symbol in everyoccurrence 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 United States of America
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FirstEdition 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.
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co n t e n t s
P R E FAC EAbout the Second Edition By Roger Black Read me first
Throat clearing and disclaimers
vi xii 2
F O R E WO R D
I N T RO D U C T I O N
Don’t make me think!
Krug’s First Law of Usability
How we really use the Web
Scanning, satisficing, and muddling through
Billboard Design 101
Designing pages for scanning, notreading
Animal, vegetable, or mineral?
Why users like mindless choices
Omit needless words
The art of not writing for the Web
things you need to get right
Street signs and Breadcrumbs
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co n t e n t s
The first step in recovery is admitting that the Home page is beyond yourcontrol
Designing the Home page
making sure you got them right
“The Farmer and the Cowman Should Be Friends”
Why most Web design team arguments about usability are a waste of time, and how to avoid them
Usability testing on 10 cents a day
Why user testing—done simply enough—is the cure for all your site’s ills
larger concerns and outsideinfluences
Usability as common courtesy
Why your Web site should be a mensch
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
Help! My boss wants me to ________.
When bad design decisions happen to good people