This week I finished reading “Don’t Make Me Think” for at least the third time. I actually bought and read the first edition and the second edition, in fact I think I’ve bought at least six copies of this book. Three of them I gave away to people I worked with on website redevelopment projects and one copy I still have, my other two copies, stolen.
“Don’t Make Me Think” is the only IT book people steal off your desk at work. People don’t steal books about Excel, VBA, or PHP. This book gets borrowed and never returned or vanishes outright in the night. Full disclosure I put up my first webpage in 1995, so I’ve read a lot of computer books and online tutorials. There are two reasons this book gets stolen, one it is short, two it makes sense.
Too many authors (and bloggers) fall in love with their own words. They think I can’t take that chapter, paragraph, sentence, word out of my book, yes, you can omit
needless words. The other reason besides brevity “Don’t Make Me Think” succeeds where a hundred other books fail to last comes down to practicality and accessibility. You don’t need to know HTML or FTP or Dreamweaver or Photoshop or Agile or SCRUM or all kinds of things that are hard to spell to understand “Don’t Make Me Think”. Anyone who has ever sat in a meeting about designing or redesigning a website should read “Don’t Make Me Think” that is why I always give or even lend my copy to colleagues.
I’ve given up on lending, if I want someone to read a book, I buy them a copy.
The reason this book is practical is it teaches fundamentals, not specifics such as how to place a featured image in the RSS feed of a WordPress blog. When I was rereading “Don’t Make Me Think” I kept getting up and checking my website on my computer or my iPhone. I was pleased to see I am not making common mistakes that confuse web surfers. My website is only a personal website, I’m not really trying to sell anything except perhaps myself, however it is still important to come across as reasonably professional. If you want to be taken seriously as a web designer or developer or project manager or product manager or usability expert or UX consultant you should read this book.
My website perhaps looks a little dated, but I’ve maintained it by myself for over a decade. There are thousands of pages of content, thousands of lines of code, and sometimes one little error log created by some PHP library I must be using can grow to be well over a gigabyte thus preventing your website from functioning properly. That is a true story, happened this week. “Don’ Make Me Think” contains a lot of true stories and real world examples on how to take your website from Good to Great or if you’re further behind on the usability scale from “OMG I hate this site” to functional.