Steve Krug’s “Don’t Make Me Think” is an interesting book for reflection. When Krug wrote the book is completely common sense, he meant it. I didn’t expect to know or already use, most of the techniques he mentioned. I have a website, and I was happy to know that what I already have on there, is enough for viewers “not to think.”
Krug’s philosophy of not making the viewer think is essential. I have been on several college websites, and some are such a mess, I don’t even bother looking anymore and/or applying to the school for graduate programs. If you make the viewer think, you lose them. No one wants to think if they don’t have too. No one wants to do extra work in finding a product, when it should be as easy as 1, 2, and 3. Krug really focuses on this, and backs up his reasoning.
One thing, I would love to add to my website if possible, is the highlighting of tabs when you are on the specific page. I am not sure if Weebly has this feature, at least in the free version. But, even though I do not have that now, I do already utilize Krug’s idea of making sure the heading of the page or tab is the biggest on the page, is by itself, and that it stands out on its own. All of the pages on my site are like this, whether it is the About Me page, or the pages about my work at different stations in Gainesville. Making it stand out, reminds the viewer where they are at the moment, and possibly which tab to move onto next.
A good website also has other characteristics like making sure the tab names and page names are the same or at least similar. This is another thing I already do. But, something I don’t do for my website is have a search box. I am not sure that I really need it for my website, given it is not a site for products, but instead a portfolio of my work. But, I do have a search box on my blog. It is on the right corner and says, “search.” But, after reading Krug’s book, I feel as if I should make it more visible. Perhaps put it at the top of my website.
Another interesting thing Krug mentioned was usability tests. Although, I do not have groups that will test out my site for me, or have a focus group set up that can tell me things they like to see on websites and things they do not. But I do have friends. Every once in awhile I do ask them to go to my website, and I ask them to tell me what they like or they do not like. I ask them to test out the links to my work to see if they still function correctly. I also ask them to look at the layout of my website. And I ask them to tell me if I should change the layout, given I have added another video or another picture or another link to my online portfolio. Why? Because I do not want the site to look crowded or all over the place or like there are too many choices to click on.
What Krug has written in this book is essential to understanding not only what to put on a website and how to put it on there. But, also how people think. You will sit there and think, “What is the point of this? I already know it.” But, then as you keep reading, you find that you appreciate what you are reading, because you have never clearly considered these things or done them after thinking about them. You just did them, because it is something you were use to seeing on other websites, and you chose to work off of that concept. Krug’s “Don’t Make Me Think,’ will have you making all of the right choices to gain users, rather than assuming you know what to do. It will also help you make sure the site functions well for phones, given most websites tend to have a computer site version and a mobile site version, these days.