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Don't Make Me Think: 20 Thoughts on Usability by Steve Krug

A new set of expert quotes on design from the book “Don’t Make Me Think ” by UX guru Steve Krug: check helpful tips on usability of web and mobile user interfaces.

Design, as well as many other fields, is built upon the works and discoveries of the great professionals. Everyone who wants to be an expert in their craft often seeks for the guidance to learn how to do things right. Various books and articles written by gurus are now in a free access on the internet so those striving at knowledge can find the essential instruction without efforts.


We often share quotes and wise thoughts from the best experts in the digital design field in Tubik blog. You can find the short insight into Design Is a Job by Mike Monteiro, Designing for Emotion by Aarron Walter, as well as the set of wise thoughts from typography master Erik Spiekermann. Continuing Tubik Studio Quotes Collection, here’s a fresh set of quotes from the well-known book “Don’t Make Me Think” by Steve Krug.


The first edition was published in 2000 and then it was revisited in 2014 making it relevant and useful nowadays. Steve Krug sets some basic principles on the usability of interfaces and shares them with professionals working in this field which makes the book one of the top essential resources recommended for UX designers. “Don’t Make Me Think” describes the key points, examples and insights which are important to know about website usability. The major idea is to create designs with which users wouldn’t need to think too much how the interface works – this way it becomes not only problem-solving but also easy to use. Here are 20 quotes reflecting some key points from “Don’t Make Me Think”.


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If something requires a large investment of time—or looks like it will—it’s less likely to be used.


Making every page or screen self-evident is like having good lighting in a store: it just makes everything seem better.


design quotes Steve Krug 01


A lot of happy talk is the kind of self-congratulatory promotional writing that you find in badly written brochures. Unlike good promotional copy, it conveys no useful information, and it focuses on saying how great we are, as opposed to delineating what makes us great. Instruction must die.


Accessibility is the right thing to do. And not just the right thing; it’s profoundly the right thing to do, because the one argument for accessibility that doesn’t get made nearly often enough is how extraordinarily better it makes some people’s lives. How many opportunities do we have to dramatically improve people’s lives just by doing our job a little better?


Another needless source of question marks over people’s heads is links and buttons that aren’t obviously clickable. As a user, I should never have to devote a millisecond of thought to whether things are clickable—or not.


design quotes Steve Krug 02


In the last few years, making things more usable has become almost everybody’s responsibility. Visual designers and developers now often find themselves doing things like interaction design (deciding what happens next when the user clicks, taps, or swipes) and information architecture (figuring out how everything should be organized).


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 it’s worth. Take my word for it: It’s really that simple.


Usability is about people and how they understand and use things, not about technology.


design quotes Steve Krug 03


The main thing you need to know about instructions is that no one is going to read them—at least not until after repeated attempts at “muddling through” have failed.


The more you watch users carefully and listen to them articulate their intentions, motivations, and thought processes, the more you realize that their individual reactions to Web pages are based on so many variables that attempts to describe users in terms of one-dimensional likes and dislikes are futile and counter-productive. Good design, on the other hand, takes this complexity into account.


The fact that the people who built the site didn’t care enough to make things obvious—and easy—can erode our confidence in the site and the organization behind it.


design quotes Steve Krug 05


In reality, though, most of the time we don’t choose the best option—we choose the first reasonable option, a strategy known as satisficing.


The problem is there are no simple “right” answers for most Web design questions (at least not for the important ones). What works is good, integrated design that fills a need—carefully thought out, well executed, and tested.


design quotes Steve Krug 07


Get rid of half the words on each page, then get rid of half of what’s left.


Designers love subtle cues, because subtlety is one of the traits of sophisticated design. But Web users are generally in such a hurry that they routinely miss subtle cues.


design quotes Steve Krug 06


If there’s one thing you learn by working on a lot of different Web sites, it’s that almost any design idea–no matter how appallingly bad–can be made usable in the right circumstances, with enough effort.


Your primary role should be to share what you know, not to tell people how things should be done.


design quotes Steve Krug 08


Your objective should always be to eliminate instructions entirely by making everything self-explanatory, or as close to it as possible. When instructions are absolutely necessary, cut them back to a bare minimum.


Faced with the prospect of following a convention, there’s a great temptation for designers to try reinventing the wheel instead, largely because they feel (not incorrectly) that they’ve been hired to do something new and different, not the same old thing. Not to mention the fact that praise from peers, awards, and high-profile job offers are rarely based on criteria like “best use of conventions.” Occasionally, time spent reinventing the wheel results in a revolutionary new rolling device. But usually it just amounts to time spent reinventing the wheel.


If you want a great site, you’ve got to test. After you’ve worked on a site for even a few weeks, you can’t see it freshly anymore. You know too much. The only way to find out if it really works is to test it.


design quotes Steve Krug 04


Bonus: Video Talks with Steve Krug


Do-It-Yourself Usability Testing with Steve Krug



Steve Krug Discusses Usability



Usability: Just One More Thing You Don’t Have Time For? Steve Krug at NextStep 2013


Welcome to check the quotes by Mike Monteiro from «Design Is a Job» and by Aarron Walter from «Designing for Emotion«

Welcome to check issues of Tubik Quotes Collection on brandingusabilityuser-centered design and content strategy

Welcome to read or download Tubik Magazine free books on logo designdesign for business and problem-solving web design