Category Archives: Books

Books : Don’t Make Me Think

Dont make me think

Don’t Make Me Think
A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability
by Steve Krug

Thoughts that striked me the most.

“Don’t make me think!” 

– first law of usability. User should be able to ‘get it’. When you are creating a site, your job is to get rid of the question marks in the user’s head.


How users use the web.

  • We don’t read pages. We scan them.
  • We don’t make optimal choices. We satisfice. – users don’t choose the best option, they choose the first reasonable option.
  • We don’t figure out how things work. We muddle through.


  • Get rid of half the words on each page, then get rid of half of what’s left.
  • Happy talk must die. – introductory texts, blah blah text
  • Instructions must die. – no one ever reads them


Oddities of web space.

Reasons why nav bar is important.

  • No sense of scale. We don’t know how many web pages there are, of whether we’ve explored half or all of it.
  • No sense of direction. We don’t know whether we should move left or right, up or down.
  • No sense of location.

Also, nav bar tells the user where he/she is.


Problems with pull-downs.

  • You have to seek them out. You have to click on them to see the list.


On Homepages.

  • Don’t overload the homepage.



  • The antidote for religious debate. Testing tends to defuse arguments and break impasses by moving the discussion away from the realm of what’s right or wrong and into the realm of what works or doesn’t work.
  • Two kinds :
  1. Focus group. A group process, and much of its value comes from participants reacting to each other’s opinion. Good for testing whether the idea behind a site makes sense.
  2. Usability test. One user at a time is shown something and asked to either a) figure out what it is or b) try to use it to do a typical task.
  • It reminds you that not everyone thinks the way you do, knows what you know, uses the web the way you do.
  • After you’ve work on a site for weeks, you can’t see it freshly anymore. You know too much. The only way to find out if it really works is to let others use it and to test it.
  • Testing 1 user is better than testing none.
  • Testing 1 user early in the project is better than testing 50 near the end.
  • The importance of recruiting representative users is overrated. Recruit loosely, and grade on a curve.
  • Testing is an iterative process.
  • The best kept secret of usability testing is the extend to which it doesn’t matter who you test.
  • Its a good idea to encourage everyone to attend a testing.
  • Review the test results right away.


Guides on deciding what to fix and what not to.

  • Ignore kayak problems – problems where users will go astray for a moment but manage to get back on track without any help.
  • Resist the impulse to add things. You’re merely adding more distractions.
  • Take new feature requests with a grain of salt.
  • Grab the low-hanging fruits.


Readings :

  • Information Architecture for the WWW – Louis Rosenfeld and Peter Morville, O’Reilly
  • Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping – Paco Underhill, Simon and Schuster
  • Sources of Power : How People Make Decisions – Gary Klein, MIT Press
  • The Practice of Creativity : A Manual for Dynamic Group Problem Solving
  • Web Application Design Handbook : Best Practices for Web-based software – Susan Fowler and Victor Stanwick
  • Defensive Design for the Web – 37 Signals, New Riders
  • The Design of Everyday Things – Don Norman, Basic Books


I just finished reading ‘Negosyo – 50 Inspiring Entrepreneurial Stories’ by Joey Concepcion. I especially like the business lessons from Prof. Andy Ferreria at the end of each entrepreneurial stories. The following lessons are from entrepreneurial stories 26-50.

Not finding in the market what you want can be an opportunity.

Never rely on one customer only. Try to expand your customer base.

Have a clear view of where you want to go and have a road map.

The entrepreneurial spirit is willing to go through hardships for the purpose of learning.

Having a mentor is always a great boost to an entrepreneur. Mentors share themselves without fear.

The next one must be better than the last one.. make the last one obsolete.

Having a clear vision makes it easier to make choices.

The personal vision is the guiding start and source of passion.

The earlier personal vision and values are discovered, the better.

Negosyo website.

Business Lessons from NeGOsyo (1/2)

I just finished reading ‘Negosyo – 50 Inspiring Entrepreneurial Stories’ by Joey Concepcion. I especially like the business lessons from Prof. Andy Ferreria at the end of each entrepreneurial stories. The following lessons are from entrepreneurial stories 1-25.

Build your enterprise around your passion. See if your passion has a market. Alternatively, check if fulfilling habits of customers who pay is your passion.

Learn to reject opportunities that are not consistent with your vision.

Being big does not guarantee victory. Market relevance and acceptance guarantee victory.

Hold on to one’s initial vision.. and take that leap of faith with the hope that somehow things would fall properly on the right place.

Difficult things are easy to do.. impossible will take some time.

True innovation is founded on great understanding of the logic.

If it’s your passion but do not have the competence to do what is needed, you can learn it, hire one, or partner with one. But you must have the competence to succeed.

Set a personal vision as early as you can.

Difficult things are easy to do when you are passionate about it.

There will be less people willing to do the difficult things.

A passionate person will grow the enterprise faster.

Transform each challenge into an opportunity.

It’s about making the enterprise the best it can be.. not better than the other.

Negosyo website.

Tuesdays with Morrie

On The Second Tuesday We Talk About Feeling Sorry For Yourself, I particularly like this part.

“Mitch, I don’t allow myself any more self-pity than that. A little each morning, a few tears, and that’s all.”

I thought about all the people I knew who spent many of their waking hours feeling sorry for themselves. How useful it would be to put a daily limit on self-pity. Just a few tearful minutes, then on with the day.