Still Life

A Series of Mental Snapshots

Posts Tagged ‘web’

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.


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

Web Usabilities Achilles Heel – The Back Button

Posted by Steve on September 12, 2008

Since the introduction of a lot of new web technologies including, (but of course not limited to) PHP and Javascript etc… the back button has never been the same. It used to be that when one pressed the back button it was expected, neh, certain that you would see the previous page that you were on; unfortunately this is no longer true! There are hoardes of issues that revovle around the back button, to follow is one example that I find terribly annoying. and Search
Like all web stores, best buy has a search option (and like most stores its pretty bad!). You arrive at the sight, and say you are looking to pick up an xbox 360, go ahead an enter that to the search bar. You come up with 368 hits, and you see a tree view:

Bestbuy Tree View

Bestbuy Tree View

You can then navigate down to the tree to finally find hardware:

Narrowed down selection

Narrowed down selection

Lets say you select the Pro Console, it takes you to the items page, and you see that it is sold out! So you press the back button to look at another console. This should take you back to the narrowed down selection… right? Not so much. It takes you back to the original search view, so you have to navigate through the tree again… GAH!

Have you had any interesting adventures with your back button, anything ever happen that you didnt expect? I may be adding to this myself the next time something strange happens!


Posted in Testing | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »