I’ve finally got round to reading “Don’t Make me think” by Steve Krug. Although its now quite old, I was reading the second edition from 2006, I think much of it is still relevant.
Don’t make me think
“I should be able to just get it”, the purpose, how and why of each webpage should be obvious. It should be obvious what is clickable, what’s the navigation what the purpose of the site is and where you are in the site. To someone who has never looked at the website before and isn’t a webling. Anyone who has used a web browser before should be able to work it out.
How we really use the web
Designers think that people carefully look at their pages, they spend ages designing them after all. But people don’t, they just bash on through until they can’t figure it rather like blokes do with instructions. They scan pages just picking out what they need to accomplish their aims.
So we need to design websites in the same way you think about billboards on a motorway. Something to be skimmed at speed. This is why headings are so important it gives a quick clue where to go in the page and how relatively important things are. So create a clear visual hierarchy and make it really, really obvious. In the same way conventions are great every designer wants to create this new/shiny navigation. To show how smart they are but that’s all rubbish. If thousands of other sites on the web use a similar navigation to your site then nearly all your users are going to just get it. Simples.
Animal Vegetable, or mineral
Make choices obvious don’t assume great knowledge of the subject. As long as your correct your not going to annoy an expert by making it simple.
Omit needless words
Omit needless words most people don’t read them anyway. Steve suggests removing half the words on each page. With the aim of reducing reducing noise, getting more content above the fold and making the aim of the page more obvious.
He goes on to talk about navigation, why homepages go wrong and most interesting for me user testing on small budget. But in the spirit of “omit needless words” I’m stopping here.