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Don't Make Me Think [Jun. 10th, 2016|01:26 pm]
De Horror Vacui
Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability, Steve Krug:

Don't Make Me Think is an old, famous book on making web pages friendly. The first edition came out in 2000, the one I have came out in 2005, and another one came out quite recently -- but this one was cheaper. The basic idea is pretty good: the user of a website should be able to use it when it loads up. There are some corollaries, like if the user makes a mistake he should be able to recognize it by itself and self-correct. It's nice and simple, just like he proposes you be. It's very useful, and I'm using some of this for other purposes -- like things I'll do to my game.

He's also a big proponent of usability testing. Basically, periodically grab people off the street, see how they interact with your page, and make corrections and additions accordingly. I did that with my students when they unsuspectingly wandered into my office for a chat (or weren't active enough in lab), I let them play the game and watched what they did (and how they quite brilliantly found ways to crash the program).

But the cool part of this book is the description of "religious debates" in the chapter "The Farmer and the Cowman." This was a very specific problem (designers vs. developers, hype vs. craft), but the description looked like every meeting I've ever been in:

They consist largely of people expressing strongly held personal beliefs about things that can't be proven -- supposedly in the interest of agreeing to on the best way to do something important...[and] they rarely result in anyone involved changing his or her point of view.

Straight from the faculty senate, curriculum committee, and design meetings.

Fortunately, this had nothing to do with the Mexican firing squad of a post-mortem on a failed product launch.

Those sessions are the fun.

Other books, 2016:

46. Inevitable Illusions, Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini
45. Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Usability, Steve Krug
44. Matrix and Tensor Calculus, Aristotle D. Michal
43. The Magic Casement, Dave Duncan
42. A Mind for Numbers, Barbara Oakley
41. Hogfather, Terry Pratchett
40. Five Easy Lessons: Strategies for Successful Physics Teaching, Randall D. Knight
39. The Living God, Dave Duncan
38. The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, Jesse Schell
37. The Maker of Universes, Philip Jose Farmer
36. Javascript Web Applications, Alex MacCaw
35. The Stricken Field, Dave Duncan
34. JavaScript: The Good Parts: Douglas Crockford
33. A Theory of Fun for Game Design, Raph Koster
32. An Introduction to Hilbert Space and Quantum Logic, David W. Cohen
31. Magic in the Middle Ages, Richard Kieckhefer
30. The Silver Warriors, Michael Moorcock.
29. Engines of Creation, K. Eric Drexler
28. Prince of Chaos, Roger Zelazny
27. Thinking Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman
26. Sparkling Cyanide, Agatha Christie
25. Knight of Shadows, Roger Zelazny
24. Death on the Nile, Agatha Christie
23. Feynman Lectures on Computation, Richard Feynman
22. Effective Computation in Physics, Anthony Scopatz and Kathryn D. Huff
21. How to Fail at Everything and Still Win Big, Scott Adams
20. Sign of Chaos, Roger Zelazny
19. Murder Must Advertise, Dorothy Sayers
18. The Mythical Man-Month, Fredrick Brooks
17. Blood of Amber, Roger Zelazny
16. Understanding Computation, Tom Stuart
15. Social Class in the 21st Century, Mike Savage
14. Design for Great-Day, Alan Dean Foster and Eric Frank Russell
13. QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter, Richart Feynman
12. SciPy and NumPy, Eli Bressert
11. Elementary Quantum Mechanics in One Dimension, Robert Gilmore
10. The Trumps of Doom, Roger Zelazny
9. Your Code as a Crime Scene, Adam Tornhill
8. Upland Outlaws, Dave Duncan
7. Identity Economics, George Akerlof and Rachel Kranton
6. The Courts of Chaos, Roger Zelazny
5. Nudge, Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein
4. The Cutting Edge, Dave Duncan
3. The Nature of Software Development, Ron Jeffers
2. The Death of Chaos, L.E. Modesitt, Jr.
1. Kivy -- Interactive Applications and Games in Python, Roberto Ulloa