Summary of “Don’t Make Me Think” (Steve Krug)

1. How to make websites effective?

1. When you are creating a site, your job is to get rid of the questions marks.

2. Go for obvious.

3. Make links obviously clickable.

4. If you can’t make something self-evident, at least make it self-explanatory.


2. We don’t read pages. We scan them. > Design Billboards.

1. Follow conventions (how things work, look and where they are located)

Innovate when you know you have a better idea, but take advantage of conventions when you don’t. Clarity trumps consistency.

2. Create effective visual hierarchies

– the more important, the more prominent

– things that are related logically are related visually

– things are nested visually to show what’s part of what

3. Break pages into clearly defined areas

4. Make it obvious what’s clickable

5. Keep the noise down to a dull roar

6. Format text to support scanning

– use plenty of headings

– short paragraphs

– use bullets

– highlight key terms

Three mindless, unambiguous clicks equal one click that requires thought.

The information should be:

1. Brief – the smallest amount of information that will help me

2. Timely – placed so I encounter it exactly when I need it

3. Unavoidable – formatted in a way that ensured that I’ll notice it

Omit needless words.


3. Navigation

Website users are generally divided into Search first (search query) or browse first (click on links)

Persistent navigation should have site id, utilities, search bar and sections (found on every page except forms).

The site id is like the building name.

As a rule, persistent navigation can accommodate only 4 or 5 utilities – the rest go in the footer.

Every page should have a search box or a link to a search page.


4. Pages

1. Every page needs a name

2. The name needs to be in the right place

3. The name needs to be prominent

4. The name needs to match what I’ve clicked

“Trunk test”:

1. Site Id

2. Page name

3. Sections

4. Local navigation

5. “You are here” navigators

6. Search

The first few seconds you spend on a new Web site are critical.

Site identify – what is the main point?

Use the tagline, the welcome blurb and “learn more” – explanatory video

A tagline is clear and informative and explains exactly what your site or your organization does (6-8 words). A tagline converts a value proposition.

Where do I start? Where to search/browse/look for the best stuff.

5. Mobile

Allow zoom!

Definition of usability: A person of average (or even below average) ability and experience can figure out how to use the think [i.e. it’s learnable] to accomplish something [effective] without it being more trouble than it’s worth [efficient].


Things that diminish goodwill (the patience a user has for using a website/app)

– Hiding information that I want (prices, shipping rates, phone numbers)

– Punishing me for not doing things your way (formatting data, putting dashes, spaces in credit card numbers e.g.)

– Asking me for the information you don’t really need

– Shucking and jiving me – “Your call is important to us”

– Putting sizzle in my way – putting loads of marketing material on my way (I’m in a hurry!)

– Your site looks amateurish


Things that increase goodwill

– Know the main things that people want to do on your site and make them obvious and easy

– Tell me what I want to know – be upfront with pricing etc

– Save me steps wherever you can – put links into tracking details

– Put effort into it – designing good manuals

– Know what questions I’m likely to have and answer them – FAQ (no marketing fluff, up-to-date, candid)

– Provide me with creature comforts like printer-friendly pages

– Make it easy to recover from errors

– When in doubt, apologise

6. Accessibility

1. The single best thing you can do to improve your site’s accessibility is to test it often and to continually smooth out the parts that confuse everyone.

2. Read the article Guidelines for Accessible and Usable Web Sites: Observing Users Who Work with Screen Readers (Mary Theofanos and Janice Redish)

3. Books:

– A Web for Everyone: Designing Accessible User Experience (Sarah Horton)

– Web Accessibility: Web Standards and Regulatory Compliance (Jim Thatcher)

4. Go for the low-hanging fruit:

– add ‘alt tags’ (add a null or empty attribute for images the screen readers should ignore)


– use headings correctly

– make accessible forms (label)

– put a “skip to main content’ link at the beginning of each page

– make all content accessible by keyboard

– create a significant contrast between your text and background

– use an accessible template

The difference between the User Centered Design (UCD) and User Experience Design (UX) is their scope. UCD focuses on designing the right product and making sure that is was usable. UX sees its role as taking the users’ needs into account at every stage of the product lifecycle.

Rules to follow:

– don’t use small, low-contrast type

– don’t put labels inside form fields

– preserve a distinction between visited and unvisited links

– don’t float heading between paragraphs