1. Don’t Make Me Think
As the title of the book and the titled first chapter indicate, this was an important concept that the designer needed to understand about the user. When a user is experiencing an app or website, it needs to be simple. There should not be a lot of thought behind the user’s experience when clicking through a website. If there is, this could truly be detrimental for a business. I always think of Amazon, personally. While Amazon doesn’t have the most beautiful UI, their UX is pretty on point — you can purchase an item on Amazon without much thought at all, and that is probably one of the biggest things behind Amazon’s large success. You have a huge marketplace filled with any item you would like, and the capability to purchase something with the literal click of a button. Now that’s NOT thinking!
2. Users Don’t Read
This was another important concept. When a user is browsing through a website or an app, it’s important to avoid large sections of text and instead focus on headlines because the user does not spend time on the text. Rather, they only skim the text to find key information. This psychology also followed through into instructions as well. If there are instructions that a user needs to go through, they probably won’t read the instructions until they have tried to run through it on their own a number of times and have failed. If so, the product you have designed is not good either! This really stuck with me and made me think of how important it is for apps to have a quick and simple onboarding tutorial for first time users.
3. Testing is SO Important!
We all know the importance of testing, but this was a big focus of the book as well — dedicating an entire chapter on how to go about doing usability testing. The book really reiterates how important it is to study the process of the user through a fresh pair of eyes and I couldn’t agree more. As designers, we spend hours, days, months, maybe even years designing something. When I start on a new project, I feel like I know every single thing about it — I know all the ins-and-outs and everything makes perfect sense to me. But the reality is, that’s not how it is for everyone. It’s especially important for the product to be easy to follow on the very first time using it. This is why testing is so important.
4. Consistency Trumps Creativity
This book also gave a really important point, in that, when we are going through the design process, we must first focus on consistency UNLESS a creative switch actually makes more sense. The way this was explained was that the process of the website has been around for years and has worked for years. Things have been thought out very well and it has become what’s comfortable for the user. For example, it’s standard for the logo of a website to be on the upper left corner of the screen. This is what the user has come to expect. So, unless you have a very good idea on why it should be somewhere else, it would be in your best interest to stick to the status-quo in this situation. Of course, that is not to discourage you from continuing to be creative, but it is important to consider what has already been around and the psychology that comes with the comfort of a certain expectation.