Steve Krug’s latest book, Rocket Surgery Made Easy, outlines a streamlined approach to usability testing for websites and products.
FACT: Most websites have usability problems that can be easily found by user testing. Unfortunately there isn’t always the budget, time or the recognized need to conduct professional user testing. Because of this, Krug advocates that “everyone should be doing simple user testing”.
“Simple user testing” is conducted with a limited number of participants (3) who spend approximately 50 minutes testing the usability of a website by trying to complete requested tasks (i.e. how would you order a book from this site?) and asking them to “think out loud” as they use the site. Frequently the worst problems with a site are revealed by watching how these participants navigate through a website.
This kind of usability testing is done to get insight into how people are using the site and to discover if there are ways to improve the site. Krug suggests testing sites early — even at the design stage (sketches on the napkin!) and testing frequently — once a month. By taking notes about what the most important problems are at each stage, changes can be made to improve the site before the next round of testing.
Like his earlier book, Don’t Make Me Think, Krug’s informative writing style details the importance of usability in an enjoyable and straight-forward manner. This book is a great resource for anyone who wants to create a more effective, user friendly website.
Rocket Surgery Made Easy by Steve Krug: a YouTube Usability Demo
The title of this book made me believe that this would be a book about creating more interesting and valuable content for WordPress Blogs. However, the real focus of this book is how to set up and manage a WordPress site. The book covers how to install WordPress; using the dashboard for basic site maintenance; creating blog posts and pages; using links, categories and tags; and working with plugins, widgets and themes.
Overall, Building a WordPress Blog People Want to Read is a good introduction to WordPress. For someone who is starting their first WordPress blog/site and wants to become more familiar with the various features that WordPress offers, this would be a good book to start with. I know a few of my clients may want to read this book.
This week I purchased these two inspiring books by Patrick McNeil. Packed full of great ideas for web design — these books showcase hundreds of websites and cover the latest trends and styles in web design. Each book has chapters on inspiration and design principles for creating websites, and has samples of great website design grouped by type, design elements, styles and themes, structural styles and elements.
As with any design, sometimes it helps to see how other designers are approaching site design. I’m really looking forward to spending time looking through these books. Inspiration comes from many places and I think these books will be great resources.