Don’t Make Me Think: a Common Sense Approach to Web Usability
New Riders, 2006
You may all be wondering why in the world I am reviewing a book that isn’t my typical young adult or picture book format. And I have many good reasons, so let me tell you about them.
This is a book about web usability. I actually read it because of a huge project I am helping with at work. Our library catalog is migrating to a new software and I am on a team that is helping to make some decisions about the public catalogs and what they look like. So, I needed to be well-versed in just what type of things to look out for. I am also on another team that is going to help train this catalog. Which meant that I also needed to be aware of what type of things to look for that would be important to let others know about. All of that put together meant that I read this book. And I actually liked it!
It talks about the reality of not making people think through web design or web pages. Instead you cut right down to thinking like a user. What would you want to see on a webpage if you were a user? Mostly you would want to know things like what webpage you were on, what is it about, and what can I do/get here. And if you make everything “stand out” then nothing really stands out. A webpage is a balance between getting correct information out there AND organizing/designing it in such a way that people can do what they want to do while on the page.
So, if you are looking for sprucing up your library’s webpage, blog, or catalog…you too should seriously consider reading this book that I have heard jokingly called “the bible” for making our stuff usable. And seriously, we all end up thinking about web usability at some point in our lives (especially when you can’t get a website to work for you). So, it gives quite a bit of food for thought. And that is why I wanted to tell you all about it. Because perhaps you too will be asked to help with some web-based project. And you will want to know about this very good book that can help you ask the right questions instead of fixating on the nit-picky things that really don’t matter.