As stated in an earlier post, I said I would would continue reading “Don’t Make Me Think” by Steve Krug. I completed chapters 2-5 with these salient points:
- Users don’t typically read pages but scan them.
- Users don’t study the page and make the best choice. Rather, they choose the first reasonable option and go with it (a term he calls “satisficing”).
- Users don’t figure out how things work; they muddle through.
Thus, he offers the following tips (all of which requires the user to think less):
- Create a clear visual hierarchy on each page
- Take advantage of conventions
- Break pages up into clearly defined areas
- Make it obvious what is clickable
- Minimize noise
One big problem is when the user wants to do something that might fall under two different choices (the example he uses is a user looking for a chain saw, and having to choose between “tools” and “lawn and garden”). Strive to make your choices as mutually exclusive as possible to prevent potential overlap over two choices.
Finally, he offers the following additional points (once again reducing how much users need to think):
- Reduces noise level
- Makes useful content more prominent
- Makes pages shorter – less scrolling
- Get rid of “happy introductory talk” that anyone who has used a web-site would understand
- Get rid of instructions – organize to make as self-explanatory as possible or if instructions are needed, offer them Just In Time.
In truth, I have already read chapter 6, but it is long and I am taking my new wife to visit Monticello in Charlottesville today. I will be working on that on the way down, so I should post on it very soon.