Review and Summary: Don’t Make Me Think

Don't Make Me Think Book Cover

In the digital world, Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug stands as a guiding beacon for anyone looking into the depths of web usability and design. Don’t let its publication date in 2000 fool you! Although the website examples in the book might feel like relics to those born in the early 2000s, the wisdom it offers is timeless.

Krug’s masterpiece contains collection of examples and straightforward explanations on how to make websites user-friendly. The book explains the essentials of solid design and the importance of testing how people interact with websites. What’s fascinating is how the core principles of web usability haven’t budged an inch over the years. They’re as relevant today as they were when the book first hit the shelves.

As you flip through the pages, you’ll gather numerous intriguing insights and practical tips. Krug has a knack for showing readers how to simplify things for website visitors. His mantra is to make everything crystal clear and accessible at a mere glance. This approach ensures that anyone visiting your site can easily find what they’re looking for without any fuss.

Don’t Make Me Think is a vital resource for anyone eager to create user-friendly websites. It’s even perfect for developers keen on peeking into the minds of users. It helps you understand user behavior, specifically on how to sway their actions subtly. Whether you’re a seasoned developer or just starting, this book has something valuable for you.


There’s no right way to design web sites.

Steve Krug, Don’t Make Me Think

First Law of Usability: Don’t Make Me Think

  • When we’re using the web, every question mark adds to our cognitive workload, distracting our attention from the task at hand. That’s why understand the basic principle of eliminating question marks is the most important thing

Facts about Real-World Web Use

  • We don’t read page. We scan them.
  • We don’t make optimal choices, we satisfice (a mixture of satisfying and sufficing).
  • We don’t figure out how things work. We muddle through.

Things to do to make sure users see and understand our site

  • Create a clear visual hierarchy on each page
  • Take advantage of conventions
  • Break pages up into clearly defined areas
  • Make it obvious what’s clickable
  • Minimize noise

Amount of Thought in Every Click Matters

Some sites have design rules stating that it should never take more than a specified number of clicks (usually three, four, or five) to get to any page in the site.

  • What really count is not the number of the clicks it takes to get to what we want, but rather how hard each click is—the amount of thought required, an the amount of uncertainty bout whether we’re making the right choice.
  • We face choices all the time on the web and making the choices mindless is one of the main things that make a site easy to use.

What You Need To Know About Page Names

  • Every page needs a name.
  • The name needs to be in the right place. The page name should appear to be framing the content that is unique to this page.
  • The name needs to be prominent. You want the combination of position, size, color, and typeface to make the name say “This is the heading for the entire page.” In most cases, it will be the largest text on the page.
  • The name needs to match what we clicked. If the words we click on and the page name don’t match exactly, the important thing us that:
    • They match as closely as possible
    • The reason for the difference is obvious


  • Show you where you are
  • Only show you the path from the Home page to where you are
  • Put them at the top
  • Use “>” between levels
  • Use tiny type because this is just an accessory
  • Use the words “You are here”
  • Boldface the last item
  • Don’t use them instead of a page name

Why Most Web Design Team Argument About Usability Are a Waste of Time

There is no Average User. All web users are unique, and all web sue is basically idiosyncratic

There are no simple “right” answers for most web design questions (at least not for the important ones). What works is good, integrated design that fills a need-carefully though out, well-executed, and tested.

Author: Steve Krug

Publication date: 1 January 2000

Number of pages: 216 pages


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