I have recently reread Steve Krug’s book— Don’t Make Me Think — A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability. Though it was published in the early 2000s, the book still seems so relevant today.
In the book, Steve Krug mentioned that many people ask him the most important thing they should do to make a web site or an application easy to use.
He would say, “Don’t let the users think.”
To do that, Krug talks about the 7 elements that you need to master to solve usability problems.
Usability means making sure something works well, and that a person of average ability or experience can use it for its intended purpose without getting hopelessly frustrated.
The 7 Key Elements
Your product must have a purpose for your target audience. And this target audience should get the benefits you’re providing.
Meeting market need is your priority. Or else, why would people have to buy your product, visit your website, or use your application?
“In reality, though, most of the time we don’t choose the best option — we choose the first reasonable option, a strategy known as satisficing.”
Is your product easy to use? The design should be easy for users to figure out basic tasks.
“Your goal should be for each page or screen to be self-evident so that just by looking at it the average user can say ‘I get it.”
You get the idea.
Basically, make it look like something users are already familiar with. If your system is a little more complex to use, maybe you should consider having a demo first to test it out.
Do users have to relearn the system each time they use it?
Sometimes it’s useful to take advantage of already learned ideas like the menu bar’s location being in the top right or placing the contact information in the bottom right.
When we find something works, we are more likely to remember it and come back to it.
Once we find something that works, we tend to stick to it. To make your product effective, you should test your website or the app regularly. This could be done through analytics, a survey, or by user interview.
“If you want a great site, you’ve got to test. After you’ve worked on a site for even a few weeks, you can’t see it freshly anymore. You know too much. The only way to find out if it really works is to test it.”
Does it get the job done with a reasonable amount of time and effort?
“Get rid of half of the words on each page, then get rid of half of what’s left.”
Most people don’t read the screen. They scan it because they want to do the task quickly.
A good way of refining your product is A/B testing, where you can compare 2 versions of the product with just one varying element. It helps you to understand where to make changes to increase efficiency.
Do people want it?
The “desirability factor” often has to do with its marketing pitch — the image, brand, reputation, and emotional response it provokes in the user.
Is it enjoyable and fun to use?
Successful products usually have a little spark of fun. It excites the user. And it makes them want to share the feeling with other people.
Usually, it happens when the user finds out how smooth and easy the process of using your product is and how well it delivers on what it does.
A person of average (or even below average) ability and experience can figure out how to use the thing to accomplish something without it being more trouble than it’s worth. — Steve Krug
Keep in mind these 7 elements for a great UX design.
Ensure your product is useful, learnable, memorable, effective, efficient, desirable, and delightful.
I highly recommend picking up a copy of the book if you get a chance.