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The Secret Appeal of Steve Krug  

:: Tuesday, February 22, 2005 ::

That he says it's just common sense makes it seem like anybody can do this stuff. Luckily for him and an entire industry centered around logic (and I'm not talking about math, ok?), there's more to user centered design than visualizing what they want and how to give it to them.

There's also a secret ingredient not often evident in the usability field, which I still visualize as stuffed shirt and proper knee length dress oriented. The real appeal of someone like Steve Krug, author of the famous web site usability design book called Don't Make Me Think, is he's hilarious.

This is also what makes or breaks some blogs. They either reach out and wrap their arms around your head and do that thing with their knuckles rubbing hard on the top of it so that you scream out "Uncle!", or they're simply eyeball scan material while you're waiting for your email to load.

A nice interview with Steve Krug and discussion at Cre8asiteForums from some Steve Krug fans reminds us that usability can be fun, as well as just plain common sense.

For example, see how fun it is tell a client what the web site priorities should be. This is what Steve says they are:

"Organize the site according to what your users are going to be looking for, not according to your corporate org chart, or even according to your business priorities--unless they happen to coincide with your users' interests."

Yes. That will get you a raise for sure. Or not. (Who do you know in corporate-fantasy-land that cares about how people actually use a web site?)

The secret thing he does is simple. He tucks little bits of funny stuff in places where you're not likely to look, but you're drawn there because if you get the fact that Mr. Krug cares about your web site visit experience, then you know he put peanuts on the bar for you.

Things like on his Advanced Common Sense site (the name itself is funny, like there's a course in it or something). The content is conversational, as if you just asked where the bathroom is and he wants to show off the pretty purple towels. He knows his readers like beer. He laid out the page so that you want to keep scrolling down, and he knows you will, because he's posted the weather in Boston.

The man's a freaking genius.

:: posted by Kim Krause Berg on 2/22/2005 11:54:00 AM

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