“Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability” by usability consultant Steve Krug is concise, down to earth, and enjoyable to read. Although written with web design in mind, I’d argue that the tenets within this book apply to interaction design in general. Many of the principles have a “well, duh!” aspect to them. However, the more basic the tenet, the more essential. This is a great resource for those working in any area of interaction design, and encourages designers to focus on the experience as a design element.
10 web design notables from “Don’t Make Me Think”:
- Make the website as easy to use and intuitive as possible. Don’t require them to relearn anything for your website (especially navigation!). Pull on already widely recognized functions, such as underlined text for links.
- Don’t assume your users are ignorant: they’ve been on websites before. Basic web use does not need to be explained.
- Make things that are clickable, very obviously clickable.
- Make the navigation clear and simple. The names for links and pages should be self-explanatory and terse.
- ALWAYS have a clear link back to the home page.
- Place the site name or logo on every page.
- Your website is not a book! Users will NOT read every bit of info, they will skim for what they need. Design for skimming.
- Cut out as much text as possible, especially meaningless text.
- Maximize mindless choices for users: they don’t want to think about how to find what they need, or spend a lot of time doing so.
- Overall, make the experience of using your website as rewarding (and least frustrating) as possible. Memorable websites are ones that are easy and enjoyable to use!