It's been known for years that usability testing can dramatically improve products. But with a typical price tag of $5,000 to $10,000 for a usability consultant to conduct each round of tests, it rarely happens.
In this how-to companion to Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability, Steve Krug spells out an approach to usability testing that anyone can easily apply to their own web site, application, or other product. (As he said in Don't Make Me Think, "It's not rocket surgery".)
In this new book, Steve explains how to:
Test any design, from a sketch on a napkin to a fully-functioning web site or application
Keep your focus on finding the most important problems (because no one has the time or resources to fix them all)
Fix the problems that you find, using his "The least you can do" approach
By paring the process of testing and fixing products down to its essentials (A morning a month, that's all we ask), Rocket Surgery makes it realistic for teams to test early and often, catching problems while it's still easy to fix them. Rocket Surgery Made Easy adds demonstration videos to the proven mix of clear writing, before-and-after examples, witty illustrations, and practical advice that made Don't Make Me Think so popular.
Review By: Peter Gabris 10/21/2010Many loved Steve Krug’s earlier book "Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability." The book became a classic for some as it had tremendous impact on the awareness of software usability. Although to some reading this review, perhaps it was not such a novelty. Still, it was an eye-opening experience for users and bosses, too. It’s hard to believe ten years has passed since that book came out, and it has taken Steve Krug that long to write and publish his next classic.
This book, Rocket Surgery Made Easy, is a handy guidebook for the assertive developer or an aspiring usability testing apprentice wishing to perform basic (not rudimentary) usability testing. The book starts with an explanation on why usability testing organized by a non-usability specialist is good but does also explain when you should hire an expert. On the book’s complimentary Web site, Krug provides a complimentary video demo on usability testing.
Chapters three through nine describe, in step-by-step fashion, usability test scheduling, planning, preparation, and execution. They are written in the best textbook style I know of—understandable and detailed enough to learn how to do the task. The sample test script and consent form in chapter 16 is an important supplement that will save you a lot of time during test preparation.
The second part of the book, titled "Fixing Usability Problems," describes everything that should happen after a testing session. The emphasis is on addressing the biggest usability problems first. Krug highlights the “tweak, don't redesign” approach as much as possible. The book concludes with remote testing instructions and a comprehensive list of recommended reading.
This teeny book (one hundred and sixty pages in all) is a delight to read and browse through. It is a “must have” if you need to learn more about usability testing. Even for those not using or involved in usability testing, this book is worth reading. If you are lucky enough to hire a usability testing specialist, read this book. You will better appreciate your expert’s abilities and job.