A glimpse into the incredible places that make up our planet
This week instead of my normal travel posts, I read a book about building a website that is user friendly and thought you might learn something from it too! I wrote a quick review about it including what I learned makes a good website with examples from the book! Enjoy!
Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug is a book that explains how to make a website (or mobile app) easy and clear to use in order for the website to reach its ultimate potential. I think Krug does an excellent job at explaining his points in a clear and concise manner that makes the book simple to read and understand. The book has several illustrations per chapter that demonstrate what Krug is trying to teach and therefore making the entire reading experience more interactive. Besides the illustrations, I also enjoyed his use of humor in the text which made some of the more technological jargon seem less intimidating. The book is broken up into thirteen chapters that explain everything from how the average person uses the Internet to how to perform usability tests in order to understand what issues people might have when entering a website.
I think that the most important thing I learned about what makes a good website is that web pages should be obvious and self-explanatory. It should never be difficult for the user to find what they need within a website.
Something Krug made me realize is that as users, we don’t read every detail of a webpage, we scan through it until we see what we are looking for or interested in much like a billboard. A good website should have a visual hierarchy. The name of the website should always be on every page as well as an option to go back to the home page. The title or the most important part of the page should always be the most prominent part of the page. This means it should have the largest font and ideally be in bold. Subsequent titles and headings within the same page should have smaller fonts depending on their importance relative to the title of the page. An important thing to note in relation to the visual hierarchy is “things that are related logically are related visually”. This means that a good website should have the titles of specific articles or sections of writing as close to the body of writing as possible instead of floating around in the middle of a page with three or four spaces between it and the body paragraph. Page formatting is something that I personally have never paid much attention to but Krug says can make a big difference to a reader. Indenting specific paragraphs can bring more attention to them and paragraphs on a website don’t have to meet the typical requirement for a paragraph they can be a sentence long as long as it catches the eye of the reader. Bullet points also do a good job at this and allow the reader to scan through the information in a less intimidating way than looking at a giant paragraph.
In chapter five Krug mentions how being brief in online writing can have a positive effect on a website. Omitting unnecessary words is key to writing productive pieces that users won’t feel they are wasting time on. This also holds true for mobile formats. Krug mentions how smartphones and tablets have changed the way we build websites because we have to focus on getting the important information onto smaller screens. This means you have to pick and choose what is most important about your website in order to put it up front in a mobile format.
Overall, I found Don’t Make Me Think to be a very helpful book. Even though some things were a bit repetitive throughout the book, it was necessary to bring them up in order to show the impact that having a clear and consistent website can have. I learned that a good website should be simple to get around in, easy to understand and honest to the reader in regard to any questions or needs they may have.