That’s What I Said (Usability and Common Sense)

Don't Make Me ThinkToday I got a new Amazon parcel, containing new books. So now I finally can call a copy of Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug my own. And here’s the question: Why did it take me so, so long to buy this book? Admittedly I’m only a few pages in, but I have a really good feeling about that book.

Here’s two things I love about it and one thing that bugs me a bit:
The first thing to love – and that’s actually something that I thought about before I read it – is that Krug tries to apply usability criteria to the book itself and is very upfront about that. Yes, the book is short, that’s because he wants you to be able to actually read the whole of it. And yes, there have been some changes to the seconds edition, up to the point where a few chapters were actually condensed and the original chapters moved to the web, because Krug had the brilliant idea to usability test his book and actually acted on the results. Awesome. I dig the fact that he applied web usability rules to an actual book.

When I said that there were two things that I loved and one thing that bugs me I should have said: One thing that I love and one thing that I both kind of love and at the same time annoys me.
Simply put: It all sounds so easy and obvious and it makes you feel a bit like someone is just presenting the only really reasonable answer there possibly could be. This goes up the point where you feel like you’re spending time listening to someone tell you a lot of things you already knew. I’m not sure, but did I already know so much about usability, am I a natural at this way of thinking or is it just something that the instant you hear it it goes into your brain, finds a nice comfy spot and acts like it was there all the time, because it’s just so obvious? Which is it?
There are just a lot of moment where I remember talking about it or jotting down notes with almost the same content and that irritates the hell out of me.

However, one of the premises of usability is that a lot of it is common sense and I think it’s just the usual dilemma of pointing out the obvious because nobody else has done it yet and running the risk of appearing like someone who just says what everybody else already knew.

Still I’m excited to what else is coming and once again I’d like to say that so far it’s been a fun and enjoyable book to read and unless I’ll stick with The Little Book by Selden Edwards, this will probably be my bedtime reading for tonight.

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