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Posts Tagged ‘book’

Book Review and Thoughts: “Don’t Make Me Think!” by Steve Krug

Posted by Steve on October 13, 2008

Don’t Make me Think is a book on web usability; it is mainly about how to improve the design of web sites and web applications so that they are more usable. This is one book that practices what it preeches in the respect that it is very readable and very nicely presented rendering it what I would classify a nice read. That being said, I do agree with some other reviews of the book, the content does tend to be a bit ‘fluffy’ (for lack of a better term). A lot of the information presented is more common sense than anything else. Now with that being said, there is no harm in hearing some good common sense, and it is always good to here from another source.

There were a few parts in particular that I thought were very important, the thing that I saw as being the most important was the section on testing (surprise, surprise). It happens to be one of the last chapters of the book, but I would say by far the most important.

It discusses the simplicity in how web usability testing can be done, for example, the importance of NOT figuring out your target user (at least in too much detail. Instead it is suggested to go out and offer a small stipend to someone (anyone!) to come in to do an hour or so of usability testing. I think this is excellent advice, it takes a lot of the overhead away from the testing and realistically being able to pin down and then find your target user is not the easiest of tasks.

Another point on usability testing that is extremely important is to do it EARLY. I know first hand how difficult it is to have people test things early, your projects, sometimes you think things just are not ready. But the reality is that if you have some usability testing done early, it can provide a lot value, as at the time the changes suggested will be much easier to fix than later on in the designs life. Therefore do smaller amounts of usability testing earlier, than large scale later!

Overall it was a good read and confirms some of those ‘common sense’ kind of feelings that you may have towards web design. If you have anything to do with any web page or application I would suggest giving it a read.

–Steve

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Posted in Product Review, Testing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Book Review and Thoughts: The 360 Degree Leader

Posted by Steve on September 9, 2008

This last week I just finished reading a book on leadership: The 360 Degree Leader by John Maxwell. The book is aimed at people who feel stuck or trapped in middle managment. It discusses some of the common problems of being a middle manager as well as an interesting concept of the 360 degree leader, someone who not only leads their follows, but also their peers and superiors. It is roughly a 300 page book, with not too many things that I disagreed with, that’s a decent accomplishment on its own. There were also many things that really resonded with me, I will just discuss some of the ones that I felt were really important.

Leading Up: Be a Go To Player
The go to player is the one that the boss goes to in crunch time, whenever there is something very important or when there is a crisis, it is where you want to be. I have always felt this to be an important relationship to have with your boss as you get the most opportunities, the most freedom and are relied on the most therefore you are the one to achieve your goals if you are trying to move forward as you are able to show what you can do.

Leading Down: A Good leader seems like they are not even there
This something that I have definitely noticed before but never really been able to articulate properly, but this definitely hits the nail on the head. A good manager/leader should have his team in a position so that he can go away for a week or preferably more, and see no impact on the team. Furthermore I feel like a good leader/manager should also always be looking ahead, therefore they are seeing (and possibly solving) potential troublesome problems/road blocks even before their team members even hit them. Now this isnt to say that a good leader doesn’t do work, as you’ll see in the next point.

Leading Down: A good leader leads by example
This is something that I have come to learn some what recently based on personal experience. I have to go back a bit first though to illustrate why it took me so long to figure this one out! As a follower, I like to try to please the leader, in certain situations there are things that I find tedious and do not like doing them, but I’ll do them because I know that it will make my leader happy. On the same vein, the amount of time my leader spends in the office has very little impact on how much time I spend in the office.  But as I learned from when I was in a leader position, this is not always the case. Followers, are called followers for a reason, they often follow by example. If you have a negative opinion on a certain practice, for example sending out a daily update, they will likely have the same negative view. Despite what you may think, they will be watching you, and watching you more closely then you may think, therefore you MUST lead by example.

Those are just some of the tid bits that I picked up from the book, it was defintiely a worth while read, so if you have an empty reading schedule or an opening coming up soon, I would suggest picking up a copy.

–Steve

Posted in Books, leadership | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »