Steve Krug’s “Don’t Make Me Think” is a basis for the practical approach to usability on the web. Even in our tech-savvy world of today, Krug’s simple lessons still hold true.
Don’t Make Me Think
According to Krug, the first law of usability is “Don’t make me think!” Even though people today probably have a great deal more experience using the internet than they ever did before, we should still not assume that they know how to use the internet. It is easy for web designers and developers to forget from time to time that we live in a bubble of constant technological advancement; our end users are not necessarily as familiar with the functionality of the latest technology or conventions as we are. But they also don’t want to get a lesson on the latest technology every time they log on to the internet. This is why, as Krug explains, “Your objective should always be to eliminate instructions entirely by making everything self-explanatory, or as close to it as possible.” Web pages and applications should be obvious and self-explanatory. Designers and developers should utilize visual cues and commonly accepted conventions to help users navigate a user interface.
Reinventing the Wheel
As web designers and developers, we are always looking for the next latest-greatest technology to use in our projects. We want to give our clients the best and most up-to-date web presence possible. But sometimes, the conventional way of building something is conventional because it just works. As Krug puts it, “Sometimes time spent reinventing the wheel results in a revolutionary new rolling device. But sometimes it just amounts to time spent reinventing the wheel.”
In conclusion, Krug’s common-sense rules are as relevant today as they were in the year 2000 when they were first published. With all of our modern day technological advancements, and the majority of the population constantly plugged into something, it is good to remember the basics of usability.