From the back of the book:
A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability
Five years and more than 100,000 copies after it was first published, it’s hard to imagine anyone working in Web design who hasn’t read Steve Krug’s “instant classic” on Web usability, but people are still discovering it every day. In this second edition, Steve adds three new chapters in the same style as the original: wry and entertaining, yet loaded with insights and practical advice for novice and veteran alike. Don’t be surprised if it completely changes the way you think about Web design.
This is one of those “essential reading” books for those in the web design and development industry. And even though I’ve read a good number of design books, and even though I had heard a lot about this one, I didn’t pick it up until a short time ago, when one of my coworkers lent it to me.
In what could amount to a one-sitting read, Krug covers many points on the topics of usability, accessibility and user experience. While there is a lot of information in the book, it’s not overwhelmingly presented, and is communicated in a very no-nonsense, upfront, clear and concise manner. In fact, it’s probably one of the best written graphic/web design/development books that I’ve read. I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to grasp every single thing that Krug presented… and how well he was able to weave personality and humour into the book as well.
The third edition to this book is going to be published early next year, and I would certainly be interested in seeing how it differs from the second edition – the second edition apparently had 2 chapters added and some information removed in order to make it answer more of what people were wondering when it comes to usability. I am wondering if all of this information is kept (even the chapters that talk about the up and coming awesomeness of CSS, back before CSS was widely adopted), and what will be added for the new edition.
One thing about this, as with any book about technology used on or for the Internet, was that a lot of the technology itself was a little out of date. Same went with the examples, which were apparently out of date when the second edition was published. Krug made note of that in his introduction, saying that he purposely did this… but it could have been more beneficial to look at how the concepts apply to newer technologies. In fact… now that I think about it, I’d be interested to see what Krug has to say about HTML5 and how/if it affects accessibility and user experience. So apparently I’m definitely going to need to purchase up the 3rd edition.
Usability is something that gets a lot of coverage in the design world, so a lot of these concepts weren’t new to me. But it was a good opportunity to go back to a usability expert and read his thoughts and opinions on some things that have been debated and talked about a lot. This book also provided some good solid takeaways, like how to talk to do some usability testing with only one or two people at a time. Definitely something that I’d like to start implementing.
The Bottom Line
While some of the content is a little dated, and while I wish I had read the newer editions, this was quite informative and I would highly recommend it to people who are working designing websites, software, mobile applications, etc.