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October 19, 2008

Steve Krug: practice what you preach

Sigh, on to a new book in Writing for the Internet. "Don't Make Me Think" by Steve Krug. I have to say (even though this is not what we are "supposed to" write, I like this book.)

Basically, Krug is talking about how to make your website user friendly and easy for your target audience. Though that is kind of a boring topic, I like that Krug is able to write his book to be user friendly. The way he sets up each chapter is like how we're supposed to set up each page of our websites. (Props to you Steve Krug.)

A few things he says that I'd like to point out from the Intro to Chapter 3 are as follows. I honestly have been finding that this book is helpful. Though like some of the other books we've look at in class, some parts are "duh moments" but I feel that, that is the only way the point would get across in this book because after all, it is titled "Don't Make Me Think." 

 

Intro

"But the reality is there are so many Web sites in need of help - and so few people who do what I do - that barring a total collapse of the Internet boom, there's very little chance of my running out of work for years." (page 4) Good to know - Hopefully I can have that assurance when I get a job too. Fingers crossed.

 "Like a lot of common sense, though, it's not necessarily obvious until after someone's pointed it out to you." (page 5) True story.

"Just so you don't waste your time looking for them, here are a few things you won't find in this book:..." (page 7) I like disclaimers so this section is a nice refresher from those books that promise to be EVERYTHING YOU'LL NEED!!! when you know that isn't true. I like that Krug puts this up from, he says what the book is and then assures you that it might not have all the answers you were looking for - but at least he says that upfront.

 

Chapter One

"Don't make me think...It means that as far as is humanly possible, when I look at a Web page it should be self-evident. Obvious. Self-explanatory." (page 11)

"As a user, I should never have to devote a millisecond of thought to whether things are clickable -or not." (page 14)

These two quotes are obvious, but points that needed to be made. I like that the easy flow of wording that Krug uses keeps even the littlest things important and readable.

"Making pages self-evident is like having good lighting in a store: it just makes everything seem better." (page 19) I like when my majors agree. This quote seems more client-based to me so that makes me think further into the Communication major than the Journalism but this kind of like being the "good kind of manipulative" when talking about making your clients happy. 

 

Chapter Two

I highlighted a lot in this chapter because, though also obvious points, they were points that HAD to be made. (Part of the practicing what you preach deal.) I liked that this chapter laid out how readers, don't actually read, we scan and we only really read what we feel is important to us. I really liked the example of how a dog hears for this part. A dog only being able to actually understand what is meaningful to it; so like a reader only reading what is meaningful to them as well. 

Chapter Three

Much like my reaction to Chapter Two, I liked that Krug gave the idea of what he was talking about and then gave good examples of how to put that idea into place when created a website. In this chapter he talks about conventions being your friend....clever. 

"As a rule, conventions only become conventions it they work." (page 35) Good, good, making sure we're not always trying to "re-invent the wheel," if something works - use it, don't try to change it.

Visual noise - hmm...noise is a word I heard a lot of and I think I got this down - though I know sometimes when I'm making websites I like to make a lot of things stand out - so that is something I still need to work on.

  

Overall, good book so far. Hopefully this continues.

1 Comment

I like that example about the dog in chapter 2 as well. I think it correlates to what we're learning in class right now too. We made our web sites about the Interactive Fiction. Our goal with those was to present what we had to say in a easily readable way for viewers to investigate. If you think about it, say some high school kid in Jamoke, Idaho is learning about Interactive Fiction and comes across one of our sites. Is he going to be able to find what he's looking for? A definition? A few links to easily accessible games? We have to be careful not to create these web sites for only our classmates who will be able to understand them, but for that high school kid who doesn't know Interactive Fiction from Science Fiction. Just like the dog can only understand info that is meaningful to it, we have to make our websites include info that is meaningful to the most viewers as possible. If that is possible...

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