Krug’s work, entitled Don’t Make Me Think, defines usable in the context of a website as:
“A person of average (or even below average) ability and experience can figure out how to use the thing to accomplish something without it being more trouble than its worth.” (p.9)
Krug’s first law of usability is Don’t Make Me Think.
The chapter states: “When you’re creating a site, your job is to get rid of the question marks.” (p. 13)
- Buttons should be clickable
- Links should be predictable
- If things can’t be self-evident make them self-explanatory.
- “If web pages are going to be effective, they have to work most of their magic at a glance.” (p.19)
The second chapter talks about How We Really Use the Web.
Krug describes a users reality of visiting a website as viewing a billboard going by at 60 miles an hour. We are usually on a mission, know we don’t have to read every single word, and know how to scan.
This goes back to the notion that people visiting websites are either hunters or gathered. Krug seems to identify more with the hunters.
Billboard Design 101
Krug explains that conventions are our friends. Users have expectations for where things are located on a webpage, how things work, and how things look. Unless the designer has a better way of doing things, stick to the standard. Its easier for the reader, and that’s ultimately what matters.
One example of a convention to follow is the visual hierarchy of a newspaper. People are used to the design, and it will make for easy reading of a webpage as well.
Krug says every choice for the user should be mindless, or at most require little thought. Thinks that are clickable should be obvious, and navigation should be natural.
Finally and most importantly: words are usually useless. Eliminate happy talk and instructions when at all possible. People no longer enjoying reading at length and if the designer wants to keep the user on the page, the words have got to go.