I love simple websites. While in the middle of a making a website transition a couple years ago, a friend recommended Don’t Make Me Think – A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability by Steve Krug. I found it incredibly useful. Steve gets straight to the point, and even throws in a bit of humor while telling you what you really need to know. It’s a must read for web designers and anyone who has a website. Don’t Make Me Think goes beyond web design and explains web usability, something many designers forget to consider. You want your website to look good, but more importantly, you want people to easily find their way around, i.e. don’t make them think!
In his book Steve says, “In the past five years I’ve spent a lot of time watching people use the Web, and the thing that has struck me most is the difference between how we think people use Web sites and how they actually use them.”
One of the more interesting parts of the book is how Steve explains with diagrams and details how we navigate around a website.
We don’t read pages. We scan them.
Some people get so hung up on design, that they forget about the goal of their website. You want your visitors to stay, to read, to click and ultimately to spend money. But also, you want your customers to be satisfied, interact, tell their friends, get valuable content, write excellent reviews, and come back again and again.
That’s why having a site that makes sense and is easy to navigate is so crucial. Sure, SEO is important, it’s what gets traffic to your site. But when you finally get them to land on your website, you want to keep them there and keep them happy. If they get frustrated, you may lose them forever.
It really doesn’t matter that this book was first published in October 2000, and printed it’s second edition way back in August 2005. It’s still the best book I’ve seen that explains succinctly why usability is one of the most crucial aspects of your website, and also offers detailed steps on how to achieve it.
Don’t Make Me Think is a great book that really made me think.