Don't make me think Part 2 - or how people really use the web

Updated: Mar 18

So I'm still addicted to this book and I find the chapter on "how people really use the web" fascinating. We pore over every word when building a web site and for the most part users simply glance and click the first interesting link.

Krug succinctly states that "We're thinking "great literature . . . while the user's reality is much closer to "billboard going by at 60 miles an hour"

He lists some website facts of life

We don't read pages. We scan them. And we scan them for the following reasons

  • We're usually on a mission

  • We know we don't need to read everything

  • We're good at it

The second fact of life is that we "satisfice". Now don't try looking this word up because you probably won't find it - it means that we don't always choose the best option, we choose the first reasonable option. Now this resonates in life but for the moment we will confine the discussion to websites. Why do we satisfice?. According to Krug

  • We're usually in a hurry

  • There's not much of a penalty for choosing wrong

  • Weighing options might not improve our chances

  • Guessing is more fun

His final fact of life is that we don't figure out how things work. We muddle through. We don't read instructions. Why do we muddle through. It's not important to us to understand how things work as long as we can use them. If we find something that works, we stick to it

But all of this information should not deter you from building your site. As Krug says, "If your users are going to act like you're designing billboards, then design great billboards".

Next up: How do we design great billboards


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